Each day I wake
to the sway of your breath
gentle as a lake
see your naked back
glistening in the morning light.
Drift a finger over your skin
and watch the hairs rise
like rowers lifting their oars
then I wait, treading water
until you turn and the current
pulls me under.
The Silence Bird
You may see it gliding in the low light
above the surface of a lake. Perhaps you
could catch a glimpse of it hovering
in the look of lovers or soaring high
in the sky of a snow field.
It has been known to perch
on the white lines of a poem
and dip its wings in the instant
between heartbeats, between breaths
before a new-born cries.
But it always returns to nest on the white stretch
of a blank page, fluffing feathers, closing its eyes
waiting for art to make a noise.
The Boy Next Door
He liked to map the stars and count the craters
on the moon, he liked the way blue ice pops
stained his tongue and sitting on the back
of my bike as we flew down the street
like debris from a comet shooting through
the earth’s atmosphere.
He liked collecting tadpoles on Sundays in spring
and every year with sleeves bunched at the crooks
of our elbows and grubby knees and knuckles,
we’d lie flat on the ground, scoop them gently
into our palms before placing them
in an old margarine tub.
Once he showed me a pip in a petri dish
nestled in wet cotton wool, said he was growing
an apple tree before telling me everyone thought
his mother was crazy, and even as I shook my head
I thought about the time she cursed at the clouds
and threw a chair across the garden that bounced
three times before landing in mud, churned up
by the paw prints of their dog.
And in our kitchen, my mother sighing and shaking
her head, drying her hands on a tea towel, before
quietly closing the windows.
Sam Payne is a writer living in Devon. She has recently completed a degree in English Literature and she would like to write a novel but poetry is a small child forever following her around and demanding attention. Email: sampayne1978[at]live.co.uk