Growing Pains

Before the day starts, in the small hours when waking means lying awake, you came to me with a pain in your leg. The pain of growing. Your bones and ligaments, muscles adjusting to each other. A dull aching that never achieves sharpness but whose intensity—lying awake—rises and…

The Sacrament of Cycling

for Nat, turning seven The tacit knowledge of a stride begins in the thigh, the four muscles of the quadriceps gathering, calling to the bend of the knee, tendons tightening, outstretching the calf, the ankle stiffening to encounter the unknown, fine bones of the foot splaying as they receive the…

How to have a baby at home

ACT 1: HOW TO PREPARE [Emma, rolling over in bed on the morning of May 14, 2015] “I think I’m having contractions” [Dan, calmly freaking out] “You think you are? You’re not sure? This could all just be a dream, we’re all brains in vats, it’s…

Antenatal Classes

[a nativity poem in three trimesters] The First Trimester Miriam’s chromosome in courting spirals Embraces another, such an other — an unfathomable Y. All the junk, viral, evolutionary, specific, sanctified, elected, DNA of humanity in his threadbare pockets. An utterly adopted son. A why of Adam and of Miriam’s…

The Dancer

[For Nat, 3 years old] Morning for me is all about weight. I rise and balance myself on the precipitous edge of the bed, teetering there and staring down into the day, feeling the flesh take hold. Gravity sucking on my bones. Bureaucratic little mind voice already listing off the…

Bed

I read to him most nights. His freckled abandonment to life now absorbed in other worlds, eyes searching out that uniquely human distance, seeing and witnessing. Hiding behind his hands to peep out at the unseen when it threatens our adventurers. Three stories, sometimes five, sometimes only one if Rabbit…

How a tree waits

Leaves don’t fall. Not in any straightforward sense. You really get a sense of this if you watch widely, unfocus that point in the centre of your looking and gaze from the sides of your eyes. Delight your peripheral vision. Wait for the great exhalation to pass over an…

An Essay on Lent

I. It’s the time of year when we awake from the drowsy hedonism of summer and jump to our feet, only to glimpse our plans and projects getting away from us. The year is getting into swing. There is a rhythm, like a Dave Brubeck time signature, but you…