Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I slept like a lion
for a whole day
while the women came in whispers
pens at their throat, light at their feet
to stroke the blocked tear duct of your eye
wash the blood from your skin
and teach you about milk
your mother among them
holding you to her, new in the world.

Their movements were like spotted dreams
and each time I woke
garbled to rise
they hushed me with laughter
and kept you warm.

I’d seen you arrive
bawling while your mother screamed
a great heaving downward
into the delight of tears
between her planted feet
the red field of your universe
chasing after you
as your mother reached to love you.

I served as her second spine
during the last great calling down.
My son Atticus Bird Mordue
I held you to my chest. I cut the cord.
But I knew deep inside
you were your mother’s son
such love in a face I cannot explain
the very shape inheriting loyalty.

Afterwards I slept and slept
while you were attended to.
Your mother was sown together again.
Yes I slept like a lion
in some kingdom lower than thought
while your mother kissed me
and held you through the first night,
the first day, then a second…
her eyes blessing your skin.

- Mark Mordue

* Previously published in Australian literary magazine HEAT, Issue No 8. Edited by Ivor Indyk. Giramondo Press, Sydney, December 2004.