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Gestation

Gestation

Through flesh, muscle, water your hand
nudges my hand - recoils. Ticking over
in salt-water, you heal. Then your arm
extends, meets my palm - you lean on me:
shy, listening. Alluvium of churned
fluid, settling
and I think of the fumy
stomach of our old pond, how the bottled
light of Koi rose, let me tickle their cilia
fins, the clitoral stem beneath. I wanted
them lumped in my cupped hands, to coax
down a shiny, bumping heart the way
I'd stroke a tablet down the dry throat
of a dog. They were lethal: eyes
and scales wild as head-lights; confusion
of fish-flesh, and sunless reflection.
I did ram a hand wrist-deep (into water
so bitter it numbed the bones), and they
subsided from sight, stunned and hurt.
Night drained the garden. I was called in
to the meaty steam of dinner, windows
solidifying against the pond until I couldn't
see it and forgot,
but in the pond's agitation
the fish soothed, lifted with a bovine,
unthinking grace, like difficult memories -
that tremendous, unstoppable blossoming.


from Broken Sleep (Bloodaxe, 2009), © Sally Read 2009, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Recordings

Sally Read Reading from her poems

1Dismantling the Gun

2Soldier

3Castelsardo, Sardegna

4The Death Bell

5Instruction

6Annunciation

7Late Sonata

8The Glass Eye

9Mastectomy

10Undone

11Confession

12I Waited the Afternoon in Your Room

13Journey

14Mafia Flowers

15Annunciation

16The Reflex

17Remedy

18As he died

19Backlash

20The Baptism

21Knowledge

22Kriah

23The Crossing

24Hyacinths

25Hearing the Heart

26Gestation

27Through Glass

28The Waiting

29The Lullaby Hours

30Broken Sleep

31The Note

32Toddler

33Song

34Weaning

Books by Sally Read