reclamation We dance in the diaspora, / those spaces between no kinds of places,...

Jessica Wilson

We dance in the diaspora,
those spaces between no kinds of places,
in those tight spots in action movies
where the walls close in, slowly;
at the corner shop
where everyone knows everyone
and strobe lights shimmy across
plastic packets of dried salt-fish
and rusting tins of apricots.

We dance in the chip-stained air of hollowed ways,
where you don’t want to live but must pass through to leave.

We dance in fairytale hinterlands
because the music is louder here and rawer
because the night is seamless, the snow is colder
and barricades of ice are thicker and more ornate;
We dance because our first names are at war with our last;
because we feel like flecks of dust
caught in a light stream between two closed windows.

We dance because newness is glittering at our pores and
floating in the air around us like clouds of fireflies.

We dance because staccato sounds are stretching our limbs
into shapes we have never seen before.

We dance because our language is not our own
but magic is dripping from our polyglot tongues
and running down our chins
like the honeyed juice of overripe mangoes.


Jessica Wilson was born in 80s London to second generation Jamaican parents. After studying English Literature at University College London, she worked as a broker for 8 years before choosing to flit between London and the Caribbean. Jessica recently became 1 of 50 chosen to participate in Penguin Random House’s WriteNow event, held in collaboration with the BBC to promote diversity in new British writing. She is currently working on her first book ‘The bulldog and the hummingbird’, a collection of poems preoccupied with the riddle of belonging and life at the interstices between British and Jamaican culture. For further information, please visit

Karen Pang was born and raised in Mauritius. She is currently transiting between Mauritius and Shanghai, specializing in both fashion and lifestyle photography. In search for authenticity and individuality, she draws inspiration from her island’s nature and people through her personal work.

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