Ankita Saxena

poet, performer, workshop facilitator

Clowns can get away with Murder

Clown walks into police station.

Half a cheek smeared with the weight of a falling

tear. Lips stretched to a clotted moon. Drooling.


‘Can you lower your arms, sir?’

policeman says. So he pulls down his wave

and locks his palms into two shut hearts.


‘Can you take off your hair, sir?’

policeman says. So he tugs at his weaves,

leaving a skinhead in a net snare.


‘Can you clear away your face, sir?’

policeman says. So he laughs until he cries

and the white disappears.


‘Can you strip yourself bare sir?’

policeman says. So he shakes off his stripes,

unlaces a padded chest.


‘You are under arrest, sir.’

policeman says. So he zips up his lips

and dismantles.


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About Ankita

Ankita Saxena is the author of Mother | Line, which released in April 2023, with Verve Poetry Press. She read English Literature at Jesus College, Oxford (2014-2017), where she was Head of Events at Oxford University Poetry Society, and President of the Turl Street Arts Festival. She has been commended in the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award three times. She is a Barbican Young Poet alumnus, part of the Octavia Poetry Collective, and one half of the ORIGINS Poetry Duo. Her poetry is published in Wasafiri, Modern Poetry in Translation and Bath Magg. She has performed widely across the UK, including live at Hammersmith Appollo, with The Guilty Feminist.

By day, she works at Social Finance, a not-for-profit social enterprise, helping to tackle complex and enduring issues in society and create lasting and widespread change.

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