By | 3 February 2024

.across the long grey-blue limpid line of
coast, smell of fire.

the mother reaching— —
and turning now
and still and whitely into light—

((and the child-
now one voice calling


.at first lick all loveliness—gone.
.at.first.touch— —

—grey of Scotland, grey of dusk-gone-dark-
just, grey of heather shallow in the bay
and on the dunes, grey of lavender-ash where
blooms were sucked into the immortal
crime, grey of what was done and not done
enough, grey of babies’ turning, turning to
their mother’s black-grey eyes, grey of last look,
grey of grace of death, of not-black not-white
not-living not-dead, last of all grey of dawn,
grey of the long and silent day when
they are not heard here

At evening and in the bay, the constant
grey that takes the vision, takes the breath
as if a ship in mist, as if a mother

voice tenderest tendril
last of all
last plume
the voice calling
still heard, still carried—

—as air inside the head, inside the ear,
for years, for all the years of anyone
who stood by watching the fire—
the day that lasted years—
and watched the turning and did not know
it doesn’t end. Every mother turns, every mother
thinks—Is that my child?

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