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Sport 33: Spring 2005

The Little Lantern

The Little Lantern

I awoke this morning
with your heart inside me
small feckless, rueful thing
and black.
I should have known you'd
never really gone, ghost
of my girlhood and all things
sad, the one called mother
the one the other sister had.
I can't even imagine that I lived
inside you as a little bud,
a little dream, a star, a hope.
My aunt, who knew you best,
told me you would come to them crying
with your belly big, saying
'It's dead, it's dead.'
Your favourite stories pick me out
as being bad from birth.
'You'd only drink your bottle in a dark room by yourself
and you were five months old
always, always a difficult child.'
I think I fell into your darkness from far, far away
swinging like a little lantern in a stormy sea
seeking hope, seeking peace, seeking solace.
The fulcrum in the firmament, a place
where I could balance
between your sorrow and your fear,
your rage and your pain.
Tonight when I try for sleep
I will pray for your heart to leave me
and for my little lantern to bring me home.