First Born

And after the evening of our lives there is nothing,
the morning lost, ridiculed, your head on the pillow
dozing. Yet you call me angel and asks for poems,
bringing me words in a language that would
shelter me from the world which is against you.
Soon I will find myself in a poem, Sebastian just born,
you a fattened woman feeling unstrung, tired of feeling,
no conversation, your face masked
with an attention to horror that has come from nowhere
but which digs in deep.
And there is no answer because there is no answer,
just a silhouette of blankness that blanketed you, the warm
eyes of the baby unappealing, grave, a shadow.

I ask for your name, ask after your health, ask
whether you are mising him but there is no response,
your eyes closed as though sleeping, an anger
on your face that blisters inwards as I try to understand,
waiting until the science of pills happens, the doctor
around to see you at eight, your mouth closed, quiet,
your words lost amidst tears that devil you,
catching your breath as if you had been running
from something sacred, something not to be

So I shall wait here with this whiteness,
these medicines until this void in you scatters,
the track of your heartbeat gathered, untouched,
loud as the blood red poppies that unveil themselves
briefly beside your bed.

John Cornwall

If you've any comments on this poem, John Cornwall would be pleased to hear from you.

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