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Sport 28: Autumn 2002

Louise Wrightson — Anice's world

page 88

Louise Wrightson

Anice's world

The night we gave Anice her first bath,
the Americans bombed Kabul.

We were safe with family in Devon,
staying in a small thatched cottage—
the front room was as compact as a bunker,
the low ceiling had dark beams
and thick cob walls sheltered us
from a wind that butted at the door.

We stared at the blue screen
flickering with sick stars,
and then, as an antidote,
turned our backs on the world
and laid a towel, a bath
and Anice's new clothes out on a table.

We unwrapped her from her layers
like a game of pass-the-parcel.

The ratio was in her favour;
five adults to a scrap of life
just five days old, whose body
shone like a leaf in the rain.

It was a kind of baptism
into a temporal world.

page 89

All Anice knew was fractured light,
the murmur of our voices—
little darling little one
and the thin sweet thread of milk
from Rebecca's nipple, flaring
over her like a dark constant sun.

December 2001