Still mourning the last, I find new fruit
shining on the test in pale egg blue.
Pale eggs buried in tunnels by shearwaters;
rare departure from the waves on fragile legs.
We dip fragile legs into icy water, streaming magic
over stones, transforming slate to salmon, peacock, gold.
Hunting for gold in a smugglers cove, I struggle
to reach the sand; they scoop up the fossils for me.
Fossil hips creaking, head pressing into my bone
and then the surprise of life, slippery and warm.
Warming him with light, we leave sterile floors;
the welcome return of wood, carpet, fruit.
I licked blackberry blood from my fingers
as he told me many hands make life work Mum
that’s what I told them Mum and it worked
he beamed, it worked, I said what you said
and they let me join in. I put the berries down.
Many hands make life work? Oh yes, I replied
and we smiled our eyes and we drank our milk
and I left proud stains on his arms.
Rachel Bower is a poet and research fellow at the University of Leeds. Her pamphlet, Moon Milk, will be published with Valley Press in May 2018. She co-edited an anthology with Helen Mort entitled Verse Matters, which was published by Valley Press in November 2017. Her book, Epistolarity and World Literature, 1980-2010 was published by Palgrave Macmillan in August 2017. Rachel publishes and performs her poetry widely, and is the founder of Verse Matters, a feminist arts collective in Sheffield.
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