Millport In Sixty-Seven
We spent our honeymoon plucking
sea urchins from the warm water
that pooled between rocks
on the banks of the Clyde Estuary.
Every morning you carried half a dozen
Kilner jars down to the shore
in a basket hanging from the crook
of your arm, and every evening
I lugged them back to the Centre
where you’d fertilise the female eggs
with sperm from a plastic pipette.
It happened almost instantly –
the cells silently sub-dividing (two,
four, eight, sixteen) with each splitting
into another pair of distant moons
glimpsed through the wrong end
of a telescope. On the last night we made
our bed on the lab floor; a pile
of coats, bottle of wine in the cool box
and my old transistor scanning
the airwaves, speaking in tongues.
You fell asleep with both hands
tucked neatly under your head,
and in the darkness I listened to the hush
of the Firth, a strange near-silence
expanding endlessly. Eyes closed
I witnessed the emergence
of its destinies, in effortless tides.
after Mark Rothko
The daughter who isn’t born yet
is sitting in our garden
and laughing, watching sunflowers
nod to the breeze. It’s a warm day
and the leaves droop
like a dead man’s moustache.
You, her mother, are teaching her
to say ‘sunflower,’ pointing
and mouthing the word ‘sunflower.’
The daughter we don’t have smiles
and grabs your finger.
In the shade of two apple trees
I’m re-reading Five American Poets
for the fifth or sixth time,
with the book open on a poem
by Robert Hass. A bird above me sings
the song of an old gate, swinging.
Later, I’ll sleep. But not before
the daughter we can only dream of
tips a big bronze bowl
of blackberries over my head,
bubbles her words for sunflower.
Siegfried Baber works in Bath as a freelance writer, and a barman in the city’s finest pub, The Star Inn. His poetry has featured in various publications including Under The Radar, The Interpreter’s House, Butcher’s Dog Magazine, and as part of the Bath Literature Festival. His debut pamphlet When Love Came To The Cartoon Kid is published by Telltale Press, with its title poem nominated for the 2015 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem.