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Two Poems

 

AZRAEL

 

at the age you are now your father’s body

had built a nest for an angel

 

you    key stage two    couldn’t place why

he coughed wingbeats    cried shameless

 

the year wisemen saw the stowaway

photobomber in a radio wave

 

today   tapping forty   your neck convexes

you bookmark testaments

 

nothing makes sense like a toddler walking around

with your face hurling a sippy cup at the wall

 

this summer we’re home braising our skirting boards

and the bees are brave

 

buzzing thickets comfort crushed shale into shade

and you run to remember not all angels are hereditary

 

in one version god drops a leaf
and seven billion eyes read your name

 

forty days later a test card

 

this summer we cling to our tvs like gastropods on a rock
the land before time​ washes up on netflix

 

little foot’s mum is dead like simba’s dad is dead like
bambi’s mum is dead like bastian’s mum is dead

 

if this is how we level up to protagonist
you’d rather swim in the shadow of a demiurge

 

you swing your daughter dizzy in the garden

to remember not all childhoods are hereditary

 

at the age you first met memory
she spies her shadow   takes it everywhere

 

but watches mama dinosaur die dry eyed

while you break on the black friday couch

 

four thousand wings trying you on for size

wonder why your kid’s hypothetical loss stings

 

sharper than your lived one

you ask your mother

 

she says when the angel came she couldn’t look

directly at your grief   a wooden doll inside hers

 

you say kids are resilient   you were ok   she says

you weren’t though   were you

 

 

T MINUS ZERO

 

it won’t matter if the water

is hot or cold

it won’t matter about the plastic

tub for the placenta

or which pyjamas
when you lie on a floor

next to the lift

trolleys

splash rocky down corridors

each

 

contraction a red

sun setting over and

in you

 

rise out of water

his eyes catching you

falling into the room

when she swells

into the water

 

a tree

splitting to give way

to lightning

 

her head like god

cracking

a rock a planet a red sun

rising blood

won’t matter

 

frog slither neck

and shoulders

and he in the sun all kneeling
your hands full of someone
slick minute

god

when she comes

you won’t remember if she cried

because

someone is here

look

look at the day
arriving


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

is a poet, editor and freelance writer from London. She’s the author of And They Are Covered in Gold Light (Bad Betty Press, 2019) and Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads (flipped eye, 2015), each chosen as a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice. She won the 2019 Verve Poetry Prize. She’s written for BBC Radio 4, and featured on The Last Dinosaur track, ‘In The Belly of a Whale’. She runs indie publisher, Bad Betty Press.

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