Survival Tips

When they start to shout at us 

after saying come talk, trust us 

this is a safe space, 

tell us this is for our own damn  

good little girls 

little boys 

but our guts 

tell us this feels 


kicks and warns us 

they are trying to ram  

shame or guilt into our mouths 

trying to hurt us 

or stockholm-syndrome smiles, 

sparkles in eyes, confuse and dazzle us 


we have been here before 


they are not our star gods,  


they are not  

our father 

or mother 


even if, 

we are no longer children, 

Think fast; 

should we prise fingers from throat 

of our opinion  

run run run 

or fight 

this time 


be still— 



to do 




we trust 

even though we don’t know we know… 

first published in New Daughters of Africa magazine 2019, and collected in Radical Normalisation (forthcoming Carcanet 2022), © Celia Sorhaindo2019, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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Celia A Sorhaindo is a poet from the Caribbean island of Dominica, where she now resides after living many years in the UK. Her poetry ...