THE FROGMORE POETRY PRIZE 2004

 
Pauline Rowe
NIGHT VISITS
 

At night I saw and heard the busy dead
rummaging cupboards for a place to hide,
behind the wardrobe doors or under beds
seeking space to be themselves. No matter how I tried
to sweep clean from my thoughts those empty arms
bone cold behind the darkened door, they stayed
and eyes tight shut, held breath meant no less harm
would come to me. In spite of this I prayed.
Hail Holy Queen became the national anthem,
other kinds of sentences that keep
lives in drifting bubbles. Imagined films
I thought I'd seen while I remained asleep.

Now my son's breath wakes me in the night.
I feed him. The dead no longer visit.

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