the poetry that matters

Laila Haidarali

Laila Haidarali was born and raised in Trinidad & Tobago and now lives in Toronto. She is a feminist historian who teaches, researches and writes on the histories of marginalized others including women, immigrants and African Diasporic people. Since emerging through Diaspora Dialogues, Laila’s poetry has been featured in Tok 1: Writing the New Toronto Narrative; Descant; Calabash: A Journal of Caribbean Arts and Letters, Cahoots Magazine and online in Sentinel Poetry. She is currently completing her first poetry manuscript.




the pause before the purpose

hones metallic matter

takes you in the white world

padded perfect cells stripping

life’s slow deposit of age;

the stooping shoulder jostles

the criminal mime

abbreviating all there is to say





track meet



little lies i told myself

sold myself      saying better days were coming

when the prime already

long ago passed;

careless discovery

wraps its tight sprawl

around the track

buffering the inflamed knee

groin    wherever it hurts

as we pound the long-go-round

racing the minutes

on clocks un-ending    knowing never

how close the finish.








girls go crazy in their heads

rapt seekers troubling the waves

of west indian idiom     


droll in their soft leather smiles

speak nothing of love

or false resemblance

to prophets & posers

dark-haired men  wringing square

white hands  measured & dry

            plump-ning pink embryos with ease



this madness of girls

contained in the garden

of brown  round eyes.









rarely secures my memory

of you,    too kind i fear

generous in the brush i draw

filling in indigo auras where

white ice should do


heats up each time i fetch

the moment       or slip by

a soliloquy        lilac in its dirge  

purple   when i cross

the other side.  hello, goodbye

you fragmented lie.








loss is like that, you know

simple  sudden    clean

white icing licked from the spoon

a child’s mouth holding all        

that can decay


the moment dis-appreciated

later      long for more 

less than you say now:

this moment      all that you can bear


forgotten memory

re-calling the words

i love you: you are gone.






the end-ing                    for jim        


who are you to know me

when i know nothing

of the saviour

who came once           twice

the union noted

filigree-ed on an open shelf

the musky scent of autumn


its pretty way


primordial pools & gardens un-tended

yield no mercy

travel in a separate case

we pull & pray

make it

to the end,       my beautiful friend.



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