Birth Poem – Caleb Parkin

Birth Poem
for Z

I’d so love to tell you how I brought forth
your mewling body from my own. But you
are no-one’s child – and all I can offer is

consistency and conditioning; treats and trips
to an open field; a version of freedom within
its fenced bounds. I can’t tell you anything

about anything; didn’t even meet you as a pup.
Nonetheless, I must conjure this tale for you:
some arthouse or Caravaggio on a backstreet

of Bucharest. You and your wiggling siblings a
clutch of squidgy strays, flanked by a host of
vagabond dogs. The reality is: we picked you up

from a small-town car park, received a carrier
bag of toys; your foster human driving away, waving
as she wept. Now we’re a pack, here in suburbs where

foxes roll and crash outside, like recurring nightmares
/dreams, that sometimes wake you, yowling, in the night.
And when you run off, yes, we fret, picture some pale-

faced driver crouched over our phone numbers,
glinting at your neck. Or, worse still, imagine you in
a new adventure – wild hair matted, collar tattered

as you feast on scraps. These two men left leadless, lost.

Caleb Parkin is a day-glo queero techno eco poet & facilitator, based in Bristol. His debut pamphlet, Wasted Rainbow, was published by tall-lighthouse in February 2021; his debut collection, This Fruiting Body, will be published by Nine Arches in October 2021. From 2020 – 22, he’s Bristol City Poet.

Tweet: @CalebParkin | Insta: @couldbethemoon |

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