It was the day after my second miscarriage.
We stood in a queue for fish and chips.
I didn’t feel like cooking.
I didn’t feel like doing anything.
Two women ahead of us were deep in conversation:
‘She’s getting a cot from my sister, clothes from Jane’,
‘What a chubby little boy…’ his weight, his date, his toes.
How friends rally to a birth.
I thought, how easy for some to drop a sprog,
of all our preparations, discussions of names,
trips to Mothercare. All that excitement turned
into silence and I-don’t-know-what-to-say looks.
Outside we walked between parked cars
loathing the Baby on Board bumper-stickers.
Sue Spiers lives in Hampshire and works with Winchester Poetry Festival and the Open University Poetry Society. Her poems have been published in 14, Acumen, Fenland Poetry Journal and Stand, and on-line at Ink, Sweat & Tears. Sue tweets @spiropoetry.
Sunday Morning Bathing
Spearmint toothpaste anoints her chin.
She turns taps to start the deluge,
pours thick liquid that smells of balsam,
places a razor on the side of the bath.
Gradual immersion; toe, shank, buttock,
fully soaks in amniotic warmth.
Her mind glides to roughness, ruminates,
re-orders words, chanting them to clarity.
Her razor slides over stubble, restores
smooth legs, pubes, oxters and muzzle.
She raises her knees, dips back three times;
plunge, lather, plunge, condition, plunge,
pinches hair between knuckles,
curls a wet knot at the back of her head.
Sentences unjumble, become slick
in rethinking, she repeats the lines
and examines puckers in fingertips,
assesses the time it takes to get out,
pulls each heel to thigh, purges soft skin.
At the final plughole amen, she wraps
herself in a towel wimple and surplice,
rinses the scum of her life away.
Sue Spiers came 3 rd in the Battered Moons competition and was highly commended in the Yeovil competition, both 2019. Sue’s poems are or will be in Dream Catcher, Black Bough, Fenland Poetry Journal, Orbis, South & Stand this year. Twitter: @spiropoetry