Red shoes

“Too much information”
you said
when I asked if anyone
had a tampon.
I beg to differ,
i’d say you don’t
have enough.
I haven’t told you
about lying on toilet floors
as endometriosis tears
my insides out.
I haven’t described
what it feels like
to hurtle through
waves of hormone mood swings
every month and still
keep the show on the road.
I haven’t explained
what it means to be
the one to grow a child
then push it out
through my vagina headfirst
to greet the world.
Have you seen what
my body has done,
achieved, made?
How fucking dare you
imply my monthly blood
is a shame-soaked secret?

But its ok.

If you don’t want
me to ask for
a tampon
maybe i’ll just
bleed on your shoes.

The hole you left

You came
like a bolt
into my womb
and into my heart.
And then my body
and my world
fell down.

You were so loved
for that short time
that I carried you.

A paper cut-out
of a life
full of future.
Crumpled,
discarded.
As a fluttered heartbeat
…..stops…..
and bloody pulp
gets flushed away.

My body throbs
with your loss,
achingly knowing
you are not there.

This is grief
without the memories
to anchor back to.
Only the space
where your tiny form
would have
parted the air
is gone.

I can still taste the
place you would
have been.

In my plans.

In my dreams.

In my arms.

I wrote most of this poem after having a miscarriage over 5 years ago and it’s now ready to be sent into the world. I am now at peace with our loss, and feel unbelievably blessed to have my husband and two boys. But I feel it’s important to be honest about what our unborn baby meant to me, and how it felt for the promise of that new life to be wrenched away. Miscarriage is very common, but I feel it is too rarely talked about.

Wounded hornet

I did not know I had hate in me
till you pulled it out.
Like a fish being wrenched
from the throat of a bird.

But you were sick
where was my pity?
I searched for it among the cracks
in the pavement.

But I could not find it.

I spread my wings wide
over my babies and hissed,
hating what you had
turned me into.

Sometimes there are moments that make you question the person you thought you were. Where a challenging situation hits at the glue that holds you together, and everything becomes wobbly. This is about one of those times a few years ago.

Gloriously older

Why
should I fear
leaving young womanhood
behind
when all around me
stand older women
glorious as trees
that have held firm
laughing through storms.
Did I see
how much of the sky
you held up for me
as I waltzed beneath
your canopy?
I see you now
all around me like
magnificent
brass pots of life.
Light
reverberating off
every dent,
pouring through
every crack.
Bathing me in warmth.
I know the path will
be glorious.
You have shown me
the way.

This poem is for the many, many women older than me who inspire me on a daily basis. This is for all of you. Thank you for your example. Your grace. Your courage. Your love. And thank you for showing me how to boss this life thing.

Birth

And then I
am floating
on the hospital ceiling.
Looking down
at my body.
Naked,
open,
centre-stage.
It’s pretty biological.
Must be the fucking
gas and air.

What’s that
war film where they
go into slo-mo?
There’s a beach,
must’ve D-day,
or b-day,
Or VBAC day
(chortle).

Down there
by my body,
people gather
round my vagina
Like it’s a camp-fire.

A midwife pauses,
waiting like a surfer
for the next wave.
It will come.
Oh fuck not yet.
Leave me up here
a little longer.

The door opens
and it rushes in.
Sweeping me
down from the ceiling.
Back,
all of me united in
dark, purple pushing.

Well I thought I might as well start as I mean to go on. With the real stuff that is birth. VBAC stands for vaginal birth after cesarean, which is how my second little one came into the world.