The Village
after Ryan Calais Cameron

A child not embraced by the village
will burn it down to feel its warmth,
skank around flickering amber hues
that singe eyelashes
of a soul cracked and popped,
barely a speck of him
to sign-point that he was there
and he was beautiful,
even when mirrors hid his reflection
in prisms of shattered colours
that made him more
than how he’s surface seen,
though it is him too



Shaniqua Benjamin is Croydon’s first Poet Laureate. She wrote lyrics for the London Mozart Players’ Anthem for Peace and performed in Apples & Snakes’ spoken word show, Rallying Cry. Shaniqua has facilitated workshops for Spread The Word and Central St Martins.