English Poets Sue Guiney and Ruth O’Callaghan: Popping Over the Pond to Somerville, Mass.
although forever started that first night
when you lifted me into your arms
cradling me, not like a baby
but like a swan,
my long neck curling over
the muscles of your crooked arm.
Softly you settled me onto the quilt
your grandmother had wrapped around her treasures
as she said goodbye to home.
I remember the tired strength of the thread between
the panels, the softness of the fading cotton.
The skin around your chest was even softer,
and the tiny hairs that marched straight down, down,
down to where I’d never been before.
You were not heavy above me.
I don’t recall an unyielding force inside.
Instead, your body and mine,
your face, our lips,
the coverlet on top, the wrinkled sheets,
all were soft, safe, soft,
and stayed with me forever.
Notes on a Journey
The Friends’ Cafe closes shortly.
The vending machine needs 50p’s.
Its cups need care, they disintegrate at touch.
But what is whole?
The crisp-clean touch and turn
inserting a catheter – an addition
to your molecular composition?
Half a mile of corridor
another – green capped, scrubbed –
takes a knife
to discover what lies behind death.
He will be particular
in this particular death
from any other
– o, the wound may be the same
but was, is, the journey?