Pascale Petit: a poem


Photograph by Saily Gokhale


Indian Paradise Flycatcher


your tail two comets

of ice crystals

your face a night-

blue sheen


as if dipped

in starlight

your wings snowdrifts

from a past climate


you descend

in a heat haze

and when you dip

into a pool


you're a pen

sky-writing

on a mirror

a flick of flakes


melting

a jet's contrails

telling us

about a sun fuelled


by frost

Too fast for my eye

your tail streamers

weave an alphabet


to cool the earth

you dinosaur-relic

little white flag

from the Holocene



Pascale’s eighth collection, Tiger Girl, published by Bloodaxe in 2020, won an RSL Literature  Matters Award while in progress. Her seventh collection Mama Amazonica, published by Bloodaxe in 2017, won the Royal Society of Literature’s 2018 Ondaatje Prize. Four of Pascale’s earlier collections were shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. In 2018 she was appointed as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.