Two Poems by Miranda Field

Birth Mark

In my ninth month I ached for the savor of black-currants — a fruit out of season, a fruit of elsewhere — and since his birth he’s carried a map of that place on his instep. A place more private than the sex of a boy, which he can never quite hide. I thought my craving signified the daughter whose dresses I store. Which, when I have a second son, I’ll bury. A summer frock writhes on the line in the wind, a white and blue grid with one small as aphid inside each square — as in a glass specimen box, a room you can look into from all sides. My ‘Book of God-fear’ warns of good women who love to account for every defect in their children by the doctrine of longing…. but my boy’s sex is no defect. And the mark on his foot is only my burden if my fault, only my fault if you can blame me. There was a mother whose huge desire  for oysters she couldn’t satisfy. And when her child came with rough scurf on his hands and feet that mimicked the shells of those so-wanted morsels, something foreign fled from her, slipped into the night and locked the door behind it. Should she go after it? Well my daughter knows to run from me, to leave her clothing empty. I’d gorge on any rare commodity to bring her forth. I’ll travel to the shore and trawl until the sea-muck makes a mountain on the sand and gives to this bad hunger a body.

Cock Robin

Not eat the thing you took. Not pluck its feathers, peel its skin. 
Not kiss your own face on the mouth after imagining 
the tasting. Nor bury the thing you bring down from the sky. 

Not interpret the meaning of its cry. Not clothe the cooling thing 
in woollens. Not reel it in. Not wind it while it writhes. 
Not breathe hard while you work, not speak of it, not burrow in. 

But barely look upon the garden where the weight fell, sudden. 
Where the falling broke it open. The plummet stopped.
Where the rain falls down in dying angles and damage blooms. 

Not touch the entry wound. Not stitch it up. Nor enter . 
Not with a finger. Not the viking eye. Not wonder. 
But leave be what you took. But let what spills congeal. 

And wager everything you own the grass grows over it in time. 
It will not rise again. The sky assists this with its rain. 
And the garden, and the mind.

Comments are closed.