When their hearts and bodies
ached, they imagined beings
able to transcend toil
only love made tolerable;
and the hurt, embryonic wings

reluctantly unfolding
from sore shoulders like
horse chestnut leaves.
More cloister bat than angel
these mute creatures

summoned in desperation
can’t offer hope or salvation;
but they’ll sit with you all day
though you refuse their comfort –
until you’re less lonely than them.

An earlier version first published in IS&T 2017. Also in my first collection, Wish (Maytree Press 2019).

Bluebell Woods ( first pub. by Riggwelter #25, and in my collection, Wish)

Bluebell Woods

The midwife wears navy,
for rational solicitude.
It’s not a mother’s blue,
not like the singing river
you followed here
to this little cot;
not like robin’s eggs
or forget me nots.

Neither the blue of icy
roofs on moonlit nights,
when unremarked snow
settles as you breastfeed
in the hallowed dark;
nor the cerulean music
of celestial spheres.

Not longing displaced,
that vision doesn’t mediate.
When her visit’s over
she’ll depart, with
careful chat and data.
You can lock the door
then and let the walls

breathe out, a home
subsiding imperceptibly
along cracks wide
as the entire terrace.
A neighbour’s clock
straddles the wall
and your embrace

now you recall, how
your newborn looked at you,
as she was lifted from
the womb – a changeling
with silver eyes and
otherworldly gravitas.

Bruised bluebells
writhe from pint glasses
and cups, towards
the cobalt light
of half drawn curtains;
exuding a milky sap
and clinging scent.

Lost in motherhood’s
enchanted bluebell woods,
you are almost alone.
Not car exhaust blue
of the absent father;
speeding away
over a pale blue hill.

Thanks to Editor Jonathan Kinsman, for kindly publishing Bluebell Woods.

Far From Here (published in Poetry Salzburg Review, Issue 35 Summer 2020)

Don’t you ever feel like
walking to the day’s end,
then curling up inside
a ditch or doorway;
till dawn kicks you
in the ribs and
moves you on again?

The sky looks up
with a beatific gaze,
but there’s no miracle.
An evanescent road
pools in the heat –
too far to call
even for swifts,
that populate dusk
with their screeches.

I will return to those
strange arches where
perpetual rain falls;
choose a happier door.
Dear friend, if you
have ever loved me
tell me now –

be here, somehow.