Wild Court

An international poetry journal based in the English Department of King’s College London

Cosmo Davenport-Hines Prize 2023 joint winner: Bianca Denise Layog

Bianca Denise Layog

    Colour Study

I live next to a lake for four years.
In this way I am unlike my mother.

Even now, my dreams are foreign
and lake-filled. I’ve always thought

of the places that come back to us
as strange. The trees. A green-tiled

grocery store. The snow, and the way
the winds pick up the closer you get

to the lake and burn your face.
My tiny yellow bathroom

with the water stains on the shower floor.
My mother’s phone call as a room

in which no one will listen.
She never does see the lake, or know

how much time I spend on a ledge
overlooking it. My mother likes the colour

yellow and it feels like a crime to like it too.
I imagine that if I show her the lake

it will appear invisible. Even if I say
Look. Let’s say it’s spring

and the lake is unfrozen. The water ripples
blue-green the first time I wade into it

and for the first time I see my reflection
overtaken by the sky. There I am, cold air

picking at the skin exposed by my rolled-up
jeans, hardly anything more than a handful

of blues. Look. Let’s say you’re here.
Tell me, do you see separate faces?

Hold onto my jacket. Tell me what you see.