The Waters of the Zambezi by Graham Clifford


In the basement we found his tools for separating Siamese Twins, a pew, an excellent drawing of a rabbit and about fifty assorted lockable cases, all different sizes. All locked.

We had spent more than a decade upstairs thinking we were running everything, when all along he was down here, doing important stuff.

Where do you think he trained? asked Jakes’ wife. She was usually the last to speak.

I had not thought he’d been trained. Perhaps I could be trained to do this, I thought at that moment. After all, my grandfather had been a midwife to a Hereford Cow and controlled the flow of the Zambezi over the Victoria Falls. This sort of leadership potential was in my blood. My mother had raised an army of petunias every spring and never shed a tear when they were mown down or rotted.

It is just how it is.



Graham Clifford is an award winning poet. He was born in Portsmouth, grew up in Wiltshire and lives in London with his partner and two daughters. His pamphlet, Welcome Back to the Country, and full collection, The Hitting Game are published by Seren. His pamphlet collection, Computer Generated Crash Test Dummies is published by The Black Light Engine Room, and his collection, Well, is published by Against The Grain. He has a MA in creative writing from UEA and is a Head teacher. Graham Clifford’s poetry has been described as having ‘coolly brutal frankness.’ His fifth collection, In Charge of the Gun, is published by the Black Light Engine Room.

1 December 2021