From a book, I made one with a friend
Not leather, a bug and basil,
But fabric, an ant and mint
An eyelash, not fallen out but pulled out
Black spots, like little drops of paint on the sun-streaked cloth
The scent of mint, strong at first, weakening each day
Like the ant's graveyard, surrounded by signs of luck.
It may not be the amulet I was hoping for,
But it's still lucky to me
This poem was highly commended for Poetry Object 2018
‘My Lucky Amulet’ is a subtle and sophisticated poem that describes the object in question as much by what it is not as what it is: ‘Not leather, a bug and basil, / But fabric, an ant and mint’. In this way, the poet sets up expectations and then changes her course, ensuring that there is always an element of surprise in each successive line and image.
An undercurrent of darkness—an eyelash is ‘not fallen out but pulled out’, a ‘sun-streaked cloth’ is speckled with ‘Black spots’—unsettles what we usually associate with ‘luck’, and gives the poem a delightful feeling of unease.
~ Bella Li, Judge, Poetry Object 2018
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