Born in South Africa, Caitlin Stobie holds a PhD from the University of Leeds where she lectures in Creative Writing. She's won both the Douglas Livingstone Creative Writing Competition, and the Heather Drummond Memorial Prize for Poetry. South African literary journal New Contrast named Caitlin one of the country’s ‘rising stars’ in poetry. Her debut collection Thin Slices appeared in November 2022 – the manuscript of which was shortlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize. An earlier version was also shortlisted for the RædLeaf International Poetry Award.
Five Ways of
Looking at a Period
A ruined pool party.
Cat-scratch in the pants.
Thighs tight and plastic-wrapped.
Luxury cotton towel sex.
Soggy apologies like I’m-on-my.
Brings muddy sleep, long as gumtrees.
Quenches anxiety with slippy lip sap.
Approves full-bellied foods, potatoes, ginger root.
Pulls distraction’s tubers and unearths certainty.
Teaches how to stand being lonely.
When eggs crack jokes about coming first.
When proteins drag blush over queenly cheeks.
When lipids birth another month’s dead doulas.
When sickle cells group under coven moons.
Hello, capillaries. Hello again, iron age friends.
Cramping coloured like conception’s twinge.
Craving the ever-ready chocolate advent.
Carving papayas with turmeric fingers.
Wishing for its mercurochrome tinge.
Then, sudden puddle of thank-fuck.
there is no difference
Between 'I want to hold your hand'
and 'Can I see your ring finger?'
Between wanting to know where you stand
and wanting a one-night stand.
Between the sheets,
between two lives,
just one phrase makes it
I’m still not sure
whether open interpretation
easier, or just
lost in translation.
We arrive in Cambridge
after a long night’s flight:
with a hangover of Africa.
What really matters, the man says,
is everyone’s comfort.
We wouldn’t want anyone
to be out
Don’t ask and don’t confess
This is a tour, after all.
So I keep clear of the line,
sick, tight with my truth.
Faith is still too
but later that night
she knocks on my door
and cries for skin
she’s never been in.
constructs: towers cut
on ancestors’ backs.
We discuss spectrums
Late dawn is lilac
with migrating shadows.
There’s no snow, just white ash.
Surely the others see;
they must sense our bent.
Even birds know silence
is also an answer.
Five Ways of Looking at a Period: Banshee (No. 12)
Even Birds: The Sol Plaatje European Union
Poetry Anthology Vol. VI (Jacana Media)
Ngiyakuthanda: uHlanga Issue 1 (uHlanga Press)