Half Made in Blood and Bone

That night,

a quarter orbit

to your first sunrise,

you know only

the need to hold

and, neither clear where 

one might end, the other 

begin, you scrape 

your hours-new fingers

on cheeks and fists

then sleep. I cut 

your nails but this 

boundary of skin

and hardness not yet 

written, I spill you, 

whisper kisses

though you 

barely stir,

this pain just

a beginning.


Outside the Postnatal Ward

Beyond the turquoise door, the hand sanitiser and dire warnings, 

beside the intercom we don’t quite trust to keep us safe, we pause 

like four-year-olds paying for their own sweets, 

a teenager in the driving seat for the first time.

Along the corridor, where we don’t see

the pictures of County Durham or the respite seating

people march or trudge, glance at the car seat which might

at any moment take off in a breeze and be lost.

Our feet barely touch light-clean floors.

The squeak of her tiny breathing is grabbed in a rush of outside

as all our fists grip air. 

Katharine Goda