MIRIAM CALLEJA

mcalleja
Miriam Calleja is a bilingual poet/author from Malta. Her poetry collections Pomegranate Heart (EDE Books, 2015) and Inside Skin (EDE Books, 2016) have been described as ‘fresh’, ‘intimate’, and ‘sensual’. In 2015 she was shortlisted for a literary excellence award for her poem ‘Burying the Dark’, which has been published in an anthology by Magic Oxygen in the UK. She spends her time giving creative writing workshops, writing for performances or publications, and devouring books. She has read at events and open mics in Malta, London, and New York. She loves the sea, cats, coffee, and travelling.
Her poems have appeared in newspapers, magazines and anthologies such as The Sunday Times of Malta, Sentinel Quarterly, 63 channels, Degenerate Literature, The Fringe Poetry Magazine and The Bleeding Typewriter.
Pomegranate heart 
 
She counts the seeds
Of my pomegranate heart
The same, always the same
No matter how many times she counts.
Her fingers are stained
And though she may wash and scrub
There I will be In her skin, lodged in places
Where she cannot wash me out
 
 
Disregard 
 
Disregard my tangled breaths
Quieten down my beating drums
Don’t listen to my skin vibrating
Ignore the haste,
The rush, that’s bursting out of every pore
Don’t look back
At me
As I come apart
Rest assured
And please be sure
That I will rise again.
 
You smell like a memory of the sea

You smell like a memory of the sea
And I remember which day
You swept me off my feet, but gently
A toe still drawing
Lines in the sand

 

You are my island


You are my city

Ceremoniously a ribbon was cut

In your honour, the brass bands played

The mayor put on his best suit

For the occasion

Of which there aren’t many

Nowadays


You are my country

I fly your flag in honour

I don’t care what the neighbours think

My screams and cries permeate the air

You are my country

I wear you with pride


You are my beach resort

I play loud music till the small hours

I don’t tire, but when I do

I sleep on the warm sand

That you made for me

I drink your tropical fruits

My skin smells of sunshine


You are my saviour

I crash into your shores

Your acceptance is unwavering

You are my saviour

I am on solid ground with you


You are my motherland

I lap up your milk and honey

Like a hungry stray

I sit on your lap

Even when you’re a stranger

I speak my mother tongue

It rolls off your ears

And falls to the ground


You are my island

I swim around you to protect you

I swim and swallow the water

But it is sweet

My skin gets wrinkled in your waters

You are my island

I wait for my end of days in you.

A new kind of courage

You give me a new kind of courage

You’ve seen me crawl out of my own skin

Frustrated beyond words

Shaking my fists and my beliefs

At a world that

Just

Won’t

Understand

Because, who am I?

And who are you?

And what is it we are doing collectively that

Would matter at all?

You’ve seen me rise out of the destruction

Of my own dreams

Bright-eyed

Brushing every bloody tear off my face

In the way only long, hot showers and music can

You’ve seen me run and crash

And change direction

Breathless, jaw-clenched, eyes circles that don’t

Stop

Believing

You’ve seen me consistent and committed

To the grave

I started to dig

In my own creation of a beautiful garden

And then smile with conviction

As I covered it up and swore to you

It will never happen again

And I believed it

And we both know

That I am a fool.

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