She’s soft as a cot rag.
In the palm of your hand she’s
a comma, an apostrophe, plucked
from a passage written in wool.
Tease her apart
and she’s smoke plume,
a child’s scribbled thundercloud.
She’s a snag of sheep,
the kind bred for centuries
on the edge of the world.
Her stink on your fingers lasts
long after you’ve put her aside.
She’s dark as night, as the pitch
into sleep, and the dreaming that follows –
a tide of remembering
most often forgotten by light.
I’m soft as basalt, as a raven’s bill,
a wreck, a rare find. I fall straighter
than you might expect,
from hand to ground, from sound
to silence, an all-seeing pupil
under a shut lid.
Coaxed apart, you think you see
through me, but all you see’s
the other side: my heart’s
in each particle, each cell
of the bright lump in the black chest
of the island I’m from,
the one you’ll never find.
I’m nowhere, everywhere,
like grains of light.
About this poem
Highly commended in the Wigtown Poetry Competition 2016.
Shortlisted in The London Magazine Poetry Prize 2016.