This poem is published online on the Medium Website.

Language, Your Own

Struck destitute for words

Words known to me trapped in my heart

I remember my mother who

Used words from a chat

and began a song!

A word would evoke a tune

in my mother tongue.

– Sevgi Ikinci

Find more of Sevgi's work in More of Us and Somewhere a cleaner. 

No Standard

I have an extremely small shoe size.
‘You will not find your size anywhere in New Zealand.' 
Nowhere to find my shoes in all

the shops around,
in the capital of New Zealand!
Luckily I found them online
just before my tramping
and walked the Milford Track

without blisters.  

I am not the standard here
but I’m proud of my small size
and being accepted
in this beautiful tramping country.

– Kumiko

Find more of Kumiko's work in More of Us.

This poem is from our recently released book of poems by cleaners.

A fortune cookie

Somewhere a poet
is cleaning a bathroom.
Somewhere a cleaner
is writing a poem.

– Rachel McAlpine

lingua franca

molten medals copper and coins

pour golden into the cast

a world peace bell

the world is one 


the bell tolls a call to prayer 


linked paper chains and paper cranes

take flight along metal rails  

rainbow whirligigs       cardboard hearts

clusters of candles with black wicks

lie among flowers rotting brown

3-D love signs    peace signs  flags and ferns

the gifts of supplication


messages run like tears into earth

autumn leaves bury outpourings

veiled now       easily forgotten


call out our changeling souls

pour us golden in a new cast 


the woman in flowing black 

          edges at her eyes

                   falls to her feet

                            kicks out in tiny puffs

 as she walks   into the hospital


lost for language I smile

dark irises answer

– Julianne Munro

Find more of Julianne's work in Somewhere a cleaner.

This poem is from one of the writers of our recently released book of poems by cleaners.


Jerusalem birds
flying from mosques to churches 
to synagogues

– Edna Heled

Find more of Edna's work in Somewhere a cleaner.

Here is another poem about cleaners from our book my wide white bed.


the surgeon

did three knees

two hips

and a shoulder.



the cleaner did

A & E at its slow time

5am, the gap between

last night’s accidents

and today’s emergencies.

She cleaned the admin offices

before they started work

and Coronary Care

and then Orthopaedics.

Now she says she’d do anything

to hop in the spare bed in our cubicle

for a few hours’ sleep.


– Trish Harris
Find more of Trish's work in My wide white bed.