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
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
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.