So young to be orphaned. No breath, pulse,
twitch, hint of life; Reaper’s property in a hospital purse.
Sculpted by wind, she crawled on all fours
through waste grounds, white goods discount stores
that promised Heaven, eternal life cycles;
the dull procession of Saints, angels, disciples.
She left the fossils, swam, ran, fell
between patients' beds, childless couples. Her own ghost,
green on decaying apples. Relatives she never knew
stroked her mother’s head, making false promises
which led to sharp intakes of breath, air-blown kisses,
prayers and candles and somebody’s wishes.
A window is opened, so attention blows outside.
Rusting buses rattle, squabble, as a rabble pile
into the school, wearing hideous lemon blazers.
Screams, laughter, scribbled jotters
begin to sing, merge, first graders' enthusiasm
creating a painful, sonic forge.
Round the back, in the long grass,
between the supermarket and the rail tracks,
an old sports bag empties out swabs, the works,
a spoon, and Horse. This is the last act of a lost cause,
stripped to the waist,
veins poised –
until nobody’s child enters somebody’s child
and presents clear thought, new voice, choice.
Stephen Watt is a Glaswegian writer who became Poetry Slam Champion in the Poetry Rivals Competition (Peterborough, 2011). He is also the author of the poetry collection Spit (2012).