I imagine you there
swaddled in your womb.
Nestled in the folds of tender flesh
as you come undone.
First, the umbilical cord.
Your link to us dissolves.
Then your little feet
in their protective curl
went toe by toe.
Your tiny arms and legs
Fibre by fibre you faded.
You were never here she says,
but you’ll never leave.
We lie and wonder
what would you have been?
Not even a headstone for you
for me to run my fingers through your marble name
and someone else’s work carved out
piece by tender piece.
Line by line
and inch by stitch
with that horrible delicate slowness.
Unspun unmade undone.
Your tale untold.
Today I took apart the bed you made me.
It stands, in pieces, some drunk against a wall.
I labelled every part carefully.
Each one a different memory.
A breath for a headboard and a look for support.
It looks pathetic now. Propped up.
The right side is longer than the left
and one support is broken.
I seal the screws into a bag.
Clip it shut, tightly.
My finger traces the wood.
Beautiful contours, grown harsher
and light wood darkened.
I discard the covers you bought
then change my mind.
I may need them to reassemble.
But for now I have nowhere to sleep.
There is no warmth.
You struggle into the back of my car.
You rattle on the windows.
I lay you out perfectly in my new room
Forgot the fixings.
An old mistake.
Anarchy in the nursery
My love of punk has turned on me.
Bitten hands and ironic anarchy from
I put biscuits in the fridge again
as I watch you pour supper away
in bedtime demonstration.
You’re at year zero, unemployed,
whilst I’ve worn the wrong suit jacket again,
only noticed half way.
There’s a three chord beat of a sippy cup
as you threaten the hippie
poseur giraffes with your breadstick baton.
Spray paint fashionist.
Your working lunch a wall collage.
You spit and drool your breakfast tattoo bricolage.
That Mohawk’s the tiniest.
You’re only happy when you’ve destroyed the TV.
Your own fashion, safety pinned porridge vest.
You’ve eaten the shopping list.
You refuse and you deny; I’m pretty sure some of those noises are obscene.
And green. So much green.
Suppose I asked for this.
My pickpocket magician,
a morning spent pulling banana from hair,
appearing like clowns from a car.
Gonzo lo-fi buzz saw drone.
Off on your search and destroy
my pogo moshing; proto headbanging
With a foot firmly on each side of the Irish Sea, Alex Smith was raised in troubled Northern Ireland during the 80s. Educated in all things English and Spanish at the Queen’s University of Belfast, Smith comes from that stable of pared-down, plain-speaking poets such as Muldoon and Armitage. When he’s not busy teaching his beloved English Literature he can be found reading, enjoying and playing music and trying his best to learn foreign languages. His poetry has been published in Carousel County Down, online at Clear Water Poetry and in The UK Poetry Library.