Us, a new collection by Zaffar Kunial, is published this Thursday by Faber, and is our Book of the Month for July. Read the title poem from the collection below.
If you ask me, us takes in undulations –
each wave in the sea, all insides compressed –
as if, from one coast, you could reach out to
the next; and maybe it’s a Midlands thing
but when I was young, us equally meant me,
says the one, ‘Oi, you, tell us where yer from’;
and the way supporters share the one fate –
I, being one, am Liverpool no less –
cresting the Mexican wave of we or us,
a shore-like state, two places at once, God
knows what’s in it; and, at opposite ends
my heart’s sunk at separations of us.
When it comes to us, colour me unsure.
Something in me, or it, has failed the course.
I’d love to think I could stretch to it – us –
but the waves therein are too wide for words.
I hope you get, here, where I’m coming from.
I hope you’re with me on this – between love
and loss – where I’d give myself away, stranded
as if the universe is a matter of one stress.
Us. I hope, from here on, I can say it
and though far-fetched, it won’t be too far wrong.
Buy a copy of Us here, priced £10.99.