Samiha Radcliffe

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my tongue slipped from her lip
for the last time.

wood hollowed into a bowl,

need deepening,
with each knock of the beak

wings folded with silent words.

these slippery apologies
we must continue to forgive:

my palm resting like a seal on
her pillow, her plate.
the pregnant shape of her emptiness.
the definite edges
of cake forks and paper cranes.

who she could have been.

blood blossomed
into the dark lake.

a raft floated towards me –
utterly ablaze.

clinging felt more desperate
than being adrift.

the loaves of her legs,
the fish bones of her feet,
remade in the space between
my floating hands.

I collect the remains:

a stone of thought
ringing across her face,

counting and skimming,

holding close
before bubbling into air.





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