This is my solitary contribution to National Poetry Writing Month. I have no idea where it came from, apart from the end of my pen:
The feathered shadows of the grass now lie
Against the moon. Its light is falling on
The shivering lake. And soon I shiver too.
I can’t escape the flat and sober calm
Of voices from the news, that follow me
As I run, stumbling, screaming to the stars,
My hand upon my growing, beating belly.
I fall face down upon the sucking mud
And dig my fingers in the slime.
I hold on now as bodies in the streets
Let go of life, and sirens scream among
The bloody shops. I am that empty shoe;
That piece of skirt; that constant lonely phone.
And you were constant once. ‘I like a bit
Of peace,’ you said, and gently touched my hands.
It takes a gentle touch to wire a bomb
And tell it to obey. I know that now.
I loved you then. You made me laugh that day
Beside the lake when I forgot the cups.
You knelt by me and cupped your hands instead.
You stroked my chin, you smiled; my face was wet.
I broke the silent years and stumbled out
My secret hopes to you. But you were blank
And deep inside I knew you would not stay.
Deep in that dark and silent space, the place
I call my soul, I knew what you were doing.
I knew, and kept my knowledge locked.
I knew and did not know. I can’t explain.
I don’t know why I never spoke, except
That night we spent in silence by the fire,
Flames on your glowing skin; our whispering clothes.
Your eyes met mine and then they slid away;
You touched my lips. How silent could I be?
And then last night in bed you sat up stark
And quivered at the quiet note that came
From someone else’s lips. You slipped into
Your clothes and coat and out into the dark.
You made a bomb and planted it – for what?
It took the earth apart. I saw it on TV.
You made a bomb and planted it in me.
© Elaine Canham 2014