Some days have teeth that bite
In unexpected or vulnerable places.
They are the days when the journey
From waking, to the tired of late evening
Has taken an unpredictable trajectory,
Traversing territory you would wish to avoid
Or which cruelly gifts you a void,
Or emotion surfeit you don't want to hold.
Today the biting bookended life:
Waking from a dream of a rat's
Deep incisor impression on soft flesh
And holding the vermin tight in my fist
Until he foamed at the mouth, still jaw slashing.
Asking my father to help me kill what I normally
Would have no grudge against, but for my stinging
Punctured arm and his rabid lust for blood brimming.
A bad dream.
And this evening the bite was of real death:
Telling my child her favourite, twinkle beam teacher
Had died. And yes, darling, it is very sad. And yes,
Sweetheart, she told me once you were talented
And Her Little Star. And she loved you as, my god! I do.
You took a pen and pad, after the sob water went down.
You wrote: "Mrs Hird was lovely. It just goes to show
You can never see all of the ball" and explained a lesson
Of 3D. You wrote: "You can't always see what is going to happen".
At 8, to already witness life as a rope that abruptly slackens
And can drop us without preamble or prior consent..
We cannot see all of the ball, or the direction and velocity,
The violence or constancy with which it spins. We can only know
Who we love. And choose, as I have, to keep her close to me
Through this night. Hoping that if it has more gnashing teeth,
We can blunt them defiantly with immeasurable love.
A wishful dream.