Iamb Poetry Poet’s Page: https://www.iambapoet.com/helen-calcutt


There’s a light on the side of the door.
It has shoulders and breasts and a face
and moves freely. 

It’s long hair trails and touches
where my feet are resting
either side of the bath. 

The water from the taps
touches the water below, where a little steam rises
and smokes in circles to the open window. 

It’s warm. It’s summer.
My daughter is sleeping upstairs in her bed
while her father 

coaxes my dresses out of their dream,
their psychotic stream on the garden line.
My other daughter tulips and treads soft 

in my belly. I soap her pulses with spools;
the spills of grey, tepid water
and she rests and moves 

like a horse trying her hooves.
It’s grown so peaceful here,
so dark 

I don’t want to turn on the lamps.
There’s something else leaning in
like music from another room 

drifting and settling where my eyes
have closed
where my heart—

tightens into focus.
And it’s my every dying wish
to keep doing this 

doing this.

That if I should ever feel it slide
I should open my breast 

for that bloody little bird
and beat the life into it.

First published by Irisi Magazine, 2020