Splinter

(for Finnley, aged 3)

 

In years to come, they will lodge in his heart.

I won’t be me with a sterilised pin

Dislodging dashes of wooden rain

Aslant in his sole. He says it doesn’t hurt,

I don’t believe him. One fragment’s stubborn.

Dig deeper. If I were a mosquito

I’d anaesthetise his novice skin

Before each stab. And then I’d suck

With more conviction and no less zeal

Than Helen, mother of Constantine,

Who scoured the length and breadth of Christendom

For a piece of the real cross.

Got it! Kiss his reliquary skin.


from Sparrow Tree (Bloodaxe, 2011), © Gwyneth Lewis 2011, used by permission of the author

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