Poem – Emma Neale


Our six-year-old watches me dress
as we talk about the planets,
where rockets have landed,
where people can’t go,
how the surface of some distant Earth
is unknowable at the moment

and he frowns and stares
with a mathematician’s intent
from breast to breast
as they tip into their bra cups
and I slip the hooks shut,
flip the straps straight;

he reads me fast and furious
there is something urgent
he must remember here
some fresh store of data he must make
if he’s to save the World, the Good Force, himself,
before the lid of time’s capsule slides shut
and he’s shot right out of boyhood’s orbit
the mother-ship shucked like a shell that’s shrunk
with no sound but his own breath in his ears.

Emma Neale

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