Pod Issue 1

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Artwork by Jane Burn

Edited by Beth McDonough

 

Seven Days in Maternity.

 

We chose Monday to evict him, tricked him out

with oxytocin, exposed him, curled and grey,

an ammonite dropped on the bed.

From his mouth’s blue auriole, soft mewling,

an arousal of life, the present fixing in black eyes.

 

On Tuesday, restless in his otherworldly crib of dials

and tentacles, its flawless atmosphere, just so, precise,

him, spatchcocked on the sheet, small giblets snatching

oxygen, my alien finger stroking brick-red, rubber limbs;

I’m wondering how anyone so fragile can endure.

 

Wednesday, I’m expressing, suckling the cold, bell mouth

of a breast pump – spritzing milk – I can’t help thinking

of cows at home, assembled twice daily in the parlour,

belching curds as the stockman douses udders,

clamps them to the muzzles of a milk machine.

 

Thursday, I’ve taken up nicotine, outside with the addicts,

huddled round ashtrays big as chimney stacks, like flies

round dung-heaps, shivering in thin nightdresses, comparing

labours, stitches, wounds, breast versus bottle, husbands/fathers –

tracing names in drifts of smoke.

 

Friday – MatthewMarkLukeandJohnblessthebed

thatIlayonandifIdiebeforeIwake – switch out

the lights, turn off TVs, evict the cat and check

for open windows, unlocked doors and oh – before

you come to bed, don’t forget to unplug the baby.

 

Today – I think it’s Sunday – my hair’s roadkill,

blue eyes are eggs in brine, lips moth wings burned

by candle flames, my tongue a fish, belly up.

He is skinned rabbit and his bones are gouache,

he’s a doodle scratched on glass, he’s rain in a jar.

 

By Lesley Quayle

 

Entonox/the view from the window

 

The second time I had a child I hired

a pool. I put it in the corner of

the room, blue plastic sheets inside. Ditch-tired,

I crawled inside and settled low. ‘My love,’

I heard, and saw the fair across the heath,

I saw the lights and swings and rides. The hush

was in my head, it rose and fell. My breath

lay underneath, then lights; the silence pushed,

lights red then blue (I asked for gas and air),

then dipped (it did not come) and flashed again –

the quiet pulled up my head, my arms, my hair,

then held me down below the dark. And then:

the dull blood shock of her against my arm,

her face. When I looked back the fair was gone.

 

By Natalie Shaw

 

The Tooth Fairy

 

He goes to her, impish mouth wide, grinning

over his latest achievement: a tooth

in his pocket. Now he could learn the truth

about magic, wishes; little mind spinning

with his latest scheme: ‘I wrote a letter

Mum, and you can’t see!’ His elfin dreams

would soothe a weeping banshee’s screams.

A talisman, this tiny Taliesin’s whisper –

scrap note and marker scrawl charged with power.

She took the stairs with footsteps of a sylph

to the boy, settled in sleep for an hour.

She read his words until her heart was filled

with light and dust, the desire to conjure

whims. In the moonlit room, the night stood still.

 

By Kate Garrett

 

Guess Who?

 

I filled his mouth with my brother’s teeth,

not mine,

not the husbands, nor my folks – different to any kin

save him.

Uncle Philip’s teeth for sure, down to the

front incisors

hewn like Callanish Stones with a gap to drive a

bus through;

huge, white and whistling. The sssssst sound of air,

dart of spit –

I filled his mouth with the teeth of the brother I loved.

Please, please,

please not the ratchet, snaggle-toothed

criminal’s grin

of him indoors – not my mother’s perfect alignment,

her pearls,

flinty in her face. I got those. I must have begged them

out of his head.

His bite will be less even, yes – but his smile peels out

from the nest

of his lips in laser-beams. He is smiling back at me,

not her.

 

By Jane Burn

 

up

My son pointed out this heart cloud

just before rain clouds threatened to do their thing again I managed

to capture it  And there are days when I am proud of myself

for achieving the basics

Hey mum what’s up

is a sort of hi

and then we take it in turns

to say

the sky

and the ceiling

the loft

and the sky

and this random star

gravity holding it together

 

By Laura McKee

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5 thoughts on “Pod Issue 1

  1. Wow- i think i have read everything up on the fat damsel site so far and never been disappointed- keep up the fantastic work damsels-your baby is a force to be reckoned with- i’m so impressed with what you have achieved so far- and i love these pod poems!

    Liked by 2 people

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