Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Some of the Parts

All that made you up -
Ear lobe, spine, and laughter,
That small scar under your belly -
I tried so hard to keep them together.

Now they’ve gone to ground,
Plugging the soil. Seedlings sprout,
And birds build nests
From what made your heart beat slow,
That first time we nearly lost you.

Pacing the room,
I'd prayed for God to take you
Back to where he spewed you from
That first time,
Before I even knew you.

This body isn’t ours to have,
Begged, borrowed, stolen,
It lasts a while, and
Then is given back.
Doctors took your flesh, made it theirs.
Trimming a curl from your head,
I hid it in a pillbox,
I'd glossed red.

All that apparatus
Became part of you
– Hoist, chair, a plastic spoon
Metal wheels, an oxygen mask;

I breathed with you your last
Breath - strained, a tiny hole
Was all that was left of your mouth.

I kissed it all the same,
Pulling down the sheet to
Watch the liquid of your life
Drain away.

Next day I stepped out
Onto speckled pavements,
Sun behind poplars,
Smoke over steelworks,
Poppies staining my eye.
They buzzed with light from you.

You made the woodpigeon coo.

So through steel and white air,
Mucus, spring, fallow

I owe you my life, Mum,
Until red seeps back into that grainy snapshot
And I follow.

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