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That Distance Apart

Written by: Jackie Kay | Biography
 I am only nineteen
My whole life is changing

Tonight I see her
Shuttered eyes in my dreams

I cannot pretend she's never been
My stitches pull and threaten to snap

My own body a witness
Leaking blood to sheets milk to shirts

My stretch marks
Record that birth

Though I feel like somebody is dying

I stand up in my bed
And wail like a banshee

II
On the second night
I shall suffocate her with a feather pillow

Bury her under a weeping willow
Or take her far out to sea

And watch her tiny six pound body
Sink to shells and re shape herself

So much better than her body
Encased in glass like a museum piece

Or I shall stab myself
Cut my wrists steal some sleeping pills

Better than this-mummified
Preserved as a warning

III
On the third night I toss
I did not go through those months

For you to die on me now
On the third night I lie

Willing life into her
Breathing air all the way down through the corridor

To the glass cot
I push my nipples through

Feel the ferocity of her lips

IV
Here
Landed in a place I recognize

My eyes in the mirror
Hard marbles glinting

Murderous light
My breasts sag my stomach

Still soft as a baby's
My voice deep and old as ammonite

I am a stranger visiting
Myself occasionally

An empty ruinous house
Cobwebs dust and broken stairs

Inside woodworm
Outside the weeds grow tall

As she must be now

V
She, my little foreigner
No longer familiar with my womb

Kicking her language of living
Somewhere past stalking her first words

She is six years old today
I am twenty-five; we are only

That distance apart yet
Time has fossilised

Prehistoric time is easier
I can imagine dinosaurs

More vivid than my daughter
Dinosaurs do not hurt my eyes

Nor make me old so terribly old
We are land sliced and torn.



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