Wild Court

An international poetry journal based in the English Department of King’s College London

A poem by Helen Calcutt


    Death in the form of a child


When you came alive, I leant in,
a red flower to your whisper.
What you said, was dark. Darkness,
from the bud of the spine, so I turned away.

I still remember the sound.
If I close my eyes, I see your mouth,
white, soft,
as an embryonic sack, opening and closing.

Nothing like the confusion
of water to make you think
something’s alive. Was that a hand, there,
in the swell of the screen

lifting or waving? A child or a man,
floating, drowning?
I leant in one more time, but had gone too far
to make sense of it.
Now I see, I expected it.