Geographical Notes on the First Year
Warm flowers grow where you touch me
And you clothe them with Catopsilia caught between your teeth
Between two breasts, the bellies of trembling sparrows,
Is dreamt a nest, a cockle beneath a moon snail
The ripe red pomegranate of your heart with seed ready to burst (I pray)
Into warm flowers that grow (oh grow)
When I touch you
I have descended the rungs of your ribcage
With my lips, by my teeth
Walking under a ladder was never such good luck
A poem waits quietly when
Suspended on the page but
Over a thousand years or more
Will burst like a supernova
Inhale the detritus of our lives
Scatter it through the streets
And blow down your door
Ghosts move through you
On quieter nights
Telling a thousand tales or more
There is a tension strung between the streets
Like telephone wires
Though nobody uses the telephone anymore
I dreamed about calling you
So we could touch through underground wires
Or breathe the same static
But I sent a letter with a raven
Through the air
Of a thousand years or more
A word in each scaled claw
To blow down your door
When you pass over me – like a ghost –
The hairs of my body rise up to meet you
And my flesh flushes in a rush of blood
From my brain to my belly and back –
But hush, hush –
Your mother, your mother’s mother.
Your sister, your brother.
There is a strange tenderness
When the ashes of your family
Are our bedhead.
Now, I have lain
With owls in my eyes
And down falling –
And feathers –
I wore my father’s watch
While my mother cried.
I admit I was frightened –
Though never by you.
I have been followed by death
But he only stood and walked and watched
And never touched.
So, you – my ghost –
As we lie in others’ graves –
Touch me instead.
– Rosie Noakes