Poem of the week: Reading Natalia Ginzburg in East Cork

A new poem by Supriya Kaur Dhaliwal

Words fail me often and so do shoes.
I always keep a pair ready, polished

in an empty suitcase like an air ticket
without a return date / purchased on a whim.

I wear them only on uncomfortable occasions.
For when I am feeling most comfortable, I long

for the worn-out sneakers I have been wearing
every day for hundreds of days;


trusting them the most to keep my feet warm
and dry, to keep my gait pronounced

like an athlete's or a ballerina's. It is too much
to ask for, perhaps from something lifeless

summoned by all the burdens of the living.
At the edge of this forest and the tree-lined

avenues of the city where I have not yet
been able to go – reside some little virtues

and there, we can ask for everything
that the heart needs and there, we will

know that it would have been the best
if we came in our most worn-out shoes.

Supriya Kaur Dhaliwal was born in India. She studied at St Bede’s College, Shimla, Trinity College Dublin, and Queen’s University Belfast. In 2018 she was selected for Poetry Ireland’s Introductions Series. Her upcoming book of poems, The Yak Dilemma, will be published by Makina Press, London, later this year