Poem introduction

This poem is about euphemisms; or, a particular euphemism. I don’t think I use them that much when talking about death – I feel quite comfortable saying ‘my daughter died’ or ‘the death of my daughter’, and this is about one particular day when I did use this particular euphemism; but as soon as I heard myself say it, I was struck by how inadequate it was.

Lost

Walking with my baby in the park and slowing for someone
I hadn’t seen in years, I heard myself interrupting coos
to say, You know I lost my first child, don’t you? 

As if there were a possibility she might turn up again,
with my glove or best pen.  That a sweep of the sofa
might reward me her hand, then body, pulled from the gap

between cushions. As if all I did was lose sight of her.
That an anxious scan of sand could bring her into focus,
squat and peering at shells. As if I could swear

I had hold of her earlier, that a frantic spill of my bag
would bear lip gloss, chewing gum, keys and I’d be
unable to explain, apologising for my dreadful mistake.

As if one day, I could run from my house, screaming ‘Found!’
Lift her for the whole road to see, shouting ‘Here she is! Here she is! She is here!’

 

 


from Her Birth (Carcanet/Northern House, 2013), © Rebecca Goss 2013, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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1A Man Greets His Wife from Her Short Break Away

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2Pigeon Love

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3Hi Honey, I'm Home

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4Burgle Me

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5Her Things

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6Leotard

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7The Anatomy of Structures

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9Stopping Distance

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10Mrs Quigley and I

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11Keeping Houston Time

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12Ants

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13Repossession

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14Ida and the Box

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15The Baby Who Understood Shadows

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16Jogging with Roger

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17Room in a Hospital

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18Toast

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19Palliative

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20Her Birth

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21Honey

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22Stretch Marks

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23Mining

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24Muscavado Sugar

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25My Neighbour’s Himalayan Birch

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26The 21st of March

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27Another

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28Welcome

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29In Memory of John Ernest Goss 1920-2011

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30Snail

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31Lost

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32Last Poem

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Books by Rebecca Goss