Final Flare

I know a wild beast

Whose face is wild, whose screaming nightfuries

And twisting intestinal rictuses are wild

Whose light-filled milk-milled face is wild as a spill of moon on sea

whose rough nails snag

and pinch and tear, mooncalf in a thorn thicket,

leaving snake-tooth scratches all over my neck, my face, my chest

a blind rabbit racing heedless through brambles

 

I sit in meetings of pregnant women and feed you wild foods I get from the hills

I carry you like a huge lump of smouldering coal over my scorched shoulders

and your busy hands remake

 

womb wreaker

in the dim cinema of my water, beamed between birth and death

you jammed your bones in my bones in unlockable patterns

cracked the knuckles of your shoulders in my spine

my hips my ribs not mine

suddenly always yours, on your strings taut as bows releasing arrows that

roared through me, sloughed me off

to drift down through darkness.

in the bright lights of the hospital I saw a thousand snakes twisting glorious on the ceiling I saw my mother’s father scrubbed clean and while I waited knew I would die

you would die, your father would die

and resolved, at least and for the first time, to die bloody and wild

and drop away without trace.

 

You finished the job.

nothing, for our sake,

which did not break, remained.

when we were delivered and you, soft, blue

lay in your crystal case

speaking in the ugly tongue of love

while the midwives came and went

I was no longer and never enough

to hold your

effortless spiralling

up from and out of the lands we have tilled

through late, beloved autumns

like a final flare, air-grasping,

from the dim shucked coast of a forgotten war

that grinds on, all through winter.

 

 

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