Spring and the Pig Mother

You may catch sight of her
early in the year, when the moon
is a bright slit
no thicker than a new-born’s tail.
She will be standing with arms lifted,
pale and still as a ghost gum against the sky.

For a bare hour
she wraps the night around her
and conducts it like a sea.
A curl of her hand starts currents
that draw the breaths
out of all the creatures on the farm

and sends them back, charged and fertile.
The crops in the fields fatten,
even the worms
and crawling insects feel
a new sharpness and scurry
more boldly about their business.

When it’s done, she stoops and shuffles
back into the heavy skin.
Rolling belly-up
she invites them all to come to her.
In the dark she takes
their hundred sucking mouths.

This poem was Highly Commended in the 2017 Bristol Poetry Prize.
Comment from judge Liz Berry: Oh I loved this wild, strange folkloric poem and wished I had written it, especially those wonderful final lines.

Two poems published on Ink, Sweat and Tears

Self-portrait with Spiders

Under Putney Bridge


That time that we went camping
in the mountains, and you said
the stars seemed so close
that it would be easy to reach up

and pluck one, I never told you
that when you weren’t looking
I took one of the smaller ones
and hid it in an inside pocket.

You’re not supposed to take things
from a National Park, but I hoped
that just one might not be missed.
In secret, I would take it out

and watch it fill a dark room. The size
and heft of it would balance
the un-weightedness of my thoughts.
Later, I gave our tent to charity,

and I think I lost the enamel plates
we’d used for just one trip.
Eventually, as well, the star burned
down to a tiny spark and went out.

This poem was published in Issue 65 of The Interpreter’s House, spring 2017.