Millie Guille


He held mama across his shoulders
like a sack of stormwood,
skin blueblack around the backs
of her thighs. He told us they
wrapped her in a bedsheet,
painted her face with soap
the palms of their hands rough sponges
trying to break the fever.

Me and Eppy catcrouched under the
old doorframe, and papa kept
pulling stones from the boundary wall.
He looks small without her,
a bird in his cage. If you opened
the door he wouldn’t fly out.


Fried Okra

She wakes in the morning to the smell
of fried okra, its oil rough-bubbling

in the vendor’s metal drum. Propped against
a bean can is a cardboard sign.

Okra-man watches through bloodshot eyes
as she pulls out her auntie’s sewing machine

its thick blue arm a polished bone
hugged close to her feet. She tuts at the bobbin

uncups the thimble, wipes dust from the base
with a lavender hem. Bare-skinned girls

listen to the needle and thread, to the empty
song of their mothers. They watch her

fingers dance, cast magic on the cloth–
that small act of holding things together.


MillieMillie Guille is a twenty-three year old postgraduate at the University of Oxford, reading for the MSt in Creative Writing. She was a runner-up in the 2017 Ambit Poetry competition, shortlisted for the 2017 Martin Starkie Poetry Prize, the 2016 Plough Poetry Prize, and the 2017 F.H Pasby Prize. Her work has appeared in The Mays XXV Anthology, The Kindling, The Cadaverine Magazine, The Fem Lit Mag, and Vagabond City Literary Journal. You can find her on twitter @MillieGuille.