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Magma Selected highlights a poet whose work we feel deserves to be more widely known. It presents a larger range of poems than we usually include for one poet.

Snake Charmer

How long has he stood without a word unnoticed at the feast or in temple squares for someone to ask what he keeps in the basket he never lets out of sight?

Now every morning we rise to hear the soul-call of a flute bellying wind and this rising between us wild and wanting and we watch mesmerized as inside us something gives its slow displacement pouring into a strange and beautiful other etching the tabula rasa’ of air chisel tongue and sleight of hand offering something fearless and whole made up of secrets we keep or do not know we own. I’ve seen it sway in small spaces we coil on days we see the world as if through basket weave.

I saw it sway even as we parted surrendering our poison the way sparrows give up their still warm speckle of eggs to the cobra and all day little doors open in flute-song.

Amali Rodrigo’s poetry and translations have been widely published in magazines including The Poetry Review, PN Review, Wasafiri and Poetry London. Her work has won several prizes including the Magma Judges Prize in 2012.

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