The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
2010 Crabbe Memorial Competition – Third Prize
Adjudicator: Gareth Calway

My mother’s heart
you might say
was composed, mostly,
of it.
It melted occasionally,
for my father’s largeness
and for the smiling faces
of several dogs,
but not for the small girl
waiting then, and waiting still
inside me now, for her arms
to open.

She had tried to be the child
her mother wanted;
painted meticulously hibiscus flowers,
marking up the petals,
stamens, anthers, done her sums
on the schoolroom blackboard,
hoped she was chipping away
to the hard centre, hoping
the ice would settle,
and she could swim in
on the melt water.

She too might have become
an ice maiden, but her skin
was always too warm to qualify,
melting at the sight of a kitten,
the sound of Schubert,
the first touch of the sun,
of the summer breeze,
of you.

Copyright © Wendy Partridge 2010

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