Let’s start with the facts:

you had my hands,

my narrow feet. We would never

have found school shoes to fit.


Your hair was curly,

but the photos were over exposed,

who knows if the copper

of your hair was really there.

Who knows.


I didn’t dress you. I let the midwife

do it all; your body a brief jangle

of flopped legs, curved spine,

chin cupped in the midwife’s hand.

That awful bargain-basement-outfit

was my fault as well.

I didn’t bring your clothes.


I held you like a doll.

I should have touched

those still-wet curls,

sucked those little fingers

kissed your foot-soles

while you were warm.

I could have pressed you, naked,

to my chest, as other mums must do.


I have this, now. Not quite a fact:

You are eight years old, splayed on the sofa.

Your mucky outdoor-Spring-time feet,

are rested on my knees. I kiss them,

lift them, bend the supple joints. And this:

you’re at the table doing homework,

I web your curls across my palm.


Bed time: I tuck you in, run my fingers

down your perfect spine.

This is repeated over and over,

there is infinite, infinite time.


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