Laura Potts — 4 Poems

Poetry

Yesterday’s Child

 

The sun slit a knife through the womb-wet night

and bled like an egg, like a budburst head:

in the swell of the sweat on the belly of the bed,

broken-throated then and red, you said

the clench of winter let the roses grow instead.

 

But time has fled with jenny wren and left

the meadow dead. And overhead a mouth of moon

has called a mourning on this room, and soon

an ever-bloom of moss will clot the loss of you.

For the years between us are wide as a child;

 

and the tears as wet as a wound.


The Wise Child

 

I remember he fled from the fogdrop moors with the dawn

and the bells of December beyond, calling morning to the streets

while winter wept beneath the trees. A sleeping me before the door

glowed on behind my mother’s knees. With holly-forest at his feet

 

from leaping long the brawling leas, he brought the loss of blossom-blush

to fall upon the breeze: he the keeper of the keys to all our stars and

northern storms, who never knew that news he bore would bruise the husk

of heart and more, poured a prayer into the pram and handed up a telegram.

 

Pass the years upon the land, a scrap of shying light I am. My splash

of laughter never sang the spring to swing me in its arms, ever since

that winter when my eyes lost all their stars. Oh father in the terrace dark,

that vast cathedral of your heart never called a patch of moon to squint

 

a light into our room, when looming in the corners slept the soldiers

in the gloom. I saw the sun forever as a wet and sunken wound, and knew

the black that cooked the blue when I was only two. And you? The colder

soul that spat the gas to phantoms that would never pass, who blew

 

the saplings ribbon-black and burst the buds beneath his tracks, would

always be my father but never once my dad. Last and ever after that, here

where War had torn us sore and mauled our bruises black, I heard

the chant of thousands calling to the stars and back: for all the years

 

and eras came that postboy down the path. He always was, perhaps,

and is; and leapt until we lost him to the dying mouth of mist.


The Body Broken

Mass and Sunday mourning pass the chancel black

and chalice-back of I, spire-spined and last to part

my plumping bud to take the nocturne wine. Mine

 

the softly hills, mine the spill and steeple-swing

of fruiting breasts and bells, yes. We break the bread

and bless. Lady in the lancet holds the apple mocking red.

 

Dappled chant and dark, ahead the blood-bright night

and first-light glass of gasping Eve, winter’s heave

hangs always here with heads that bow before the vow

 

to never grieve the leaving eyes of youth. Truth

is lost and winterworn. Borne away on snarling winds,

the greening drop of spring falls from my hair. The cleric’s

 

cloak is a darkly thing. My deeper, deeper throat

receives the gloaming sermon there, heir of the berry

dreamt to bursting in his hand. Damn the vestal

 

up-and-swung of lust that Woman loved, budblood

and the Garden singing skin and pink bouquets, but

turn the tongue beyond the Book and in the darkest

 

places hold the harvest fruit and look above and long

to lasting-touch the apple that is loathed so much.

Such is Sunday mass and curse of we, the curled

 

Madonnas kneeling with a screaming in our skirts.

The weakly bread we break and nurse. And vow and

kneel and slaughter one more godless book of verse.


Kitchen, Sinister

Ten springs gone in my morning of life, I wore light

in the summer of my voice, in the candles once made

of my eyes. That night dusk swung out and away into noise

wild and white above town, and down in my childhood

 

garden lost the pond breathed out light grey and soft.

I remember not. But black clot and burnt in my throat

when she coughed up hot liver that night in the gloam,

the globes of her eyes gone bloodfull and long

 

did the birds scream murder outside. I cried. My

winter-ghost mother gone grey in her day, a tragedy

staring and wearing that cracked pale-fade skin in an old

kitchen light. When food was thin she served me lies. No,

 

the stars did not giggle the puddles that night

when my dark-fire youth wheeled a wind round the house,

her once-fluted mouth nursing liquor and meth. Her deathlight

was dark as a gobbet of gas, a heart in a jar on a chimney last

 

lit back when I was a lamb. After that? I took a bath. Black

was the path at infant’s end, a lack-lanterned track derailing

and cracked was the girlhood glow of my light. O mother

of mine, the window-steam bled itself pretty that night.

 

 

Under the trees, I sit in the asylum garden.

I swing the bottle to my lips and swig.


Laura-Potts-6

Laura Potts is twenty-three years old and lives in West Yorkshire, England. Twice-recipient of the Foyle Young Poets Award, her work has been published by Aesthetica, The Moth and The Poetry Business. Having worked at The Dylan Thomas Birthplace in Swansea, Laura was nominated for The Pushcart Prize and became one of the BBC’s New Voices last year. Her first BBC radio drama aired at Christmas. She received a commendation from The Poetry Society in 2018 and a nomination for The Forward Prize in 2019. Find her here!

  • Featured image, by Amar Saeed.

4 thoughts on “Laura Potts — 4 Poems

  1. It’s wonderful how Laura still makes the lines/phrases rhyme, and yet those do not turn out as boring or tedious. It’s rather rare today.

    Liked by 1 person

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