Poem: Your Aliveness. Pain by Jane Burn

Your Aliveness. Pain

I held your feet – each heel like it was
God’s own eye, each sole
a gosling’s breast. Each toe a delicacy –
ten berries, nails a slice of miniature moon.
Barely bones inside yet.
They come to do the prick test and I think

I would run if I could.

This baby has broken every bit of me
but I cannot put him down – I wish
the chord had stayed un-snapped. If
there is a way to keep him safe then somebody
please tell me. When he came out,
he didn’t breathe. He does now,

but I can’t stop checking.

I wake and find there is a tiny tube
pushed up his nose because he won’t eat.
I feel as if I’ll choke him when I push on the syringe.
He’s yellow and sleeps beneath a biliblanket,
like a bright butter pat, feeding on light.
I will die from this ache of not knowing.

He is so small.

I wish his head was a crystal ball – I wish
I could see the hurts before they happen.
I do not know how to be responsible for this child.
I kiss the spot where the needle-point went in
and hate them. One day
someone will break your heart – one day

it will feel for a while

as if the planets have come unstuck from their orbits.
I still put my nose to those knitted morsels
that you wore. Powder, sweetness,
scents of my confusion.
Your aliveness.
Pain.


Jane Burn‘s poems have appeared in many magazines and anthologies both in print and online. Her pamphlets include Fat Around the Middle, published by Talking Pen and Tongues of Fire published by the BLER Press. Her first full collection, nothing more to it than bubbles has been published by Indigo Dreams.


Our JustGiving page is open for donations to the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund – no amount is too small if you feel moved to support.

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