Due to restrictions this poem has modified formatting.
I notice where your watch used to be.
Day’s mathematics were perched above
jutting wrist bone, Time’s face rested
on the inside of your forearm. Now –
“can you pass me my tablets, love” –
formulas: swallowed, digested, to fix you
piece by piece by limb by sinew.
The hand of a hiding god
nearly plucked you from us.
The hand of a surgeon held tightly.
I pass you the box, taking special notice
of your small hands in some vagary of palmistry:
creases etched in the heel, double-jointed thumb,
exposed vein rivers, cannula scars or lost purple swimmers.
There, is where your watch used to be.
A similar watch sits on my own bony wrist –
there’s an indent it leaves behind.
(my watch says) I watch your
hands rub your bare scalp (they once plait
my hair): a habit unspoken. Those hands
taught me how to broth and roast and stew,
held me tightly when Safeway was busy –
And now I notice
the sky is paling lilac and the dog is smiling
and it’s a good day for cutting silage as grass
is flung into trailers down Turkey Street
and a couple walk past, arm in arm,
when you sigh, and fold a hand over a wrist,
the wrist where your watch used to be,
the one I loved and copied,
I wish the sky was stormy.
Emma Haworth is a writer from Lancashire, who has recently finished her Creative Writing MA at Lancaster University. After winning Portico Library’s competition, she was commissioned to write a personal essay for the ‘Rewriting the North’ project. In her poetry, Emma aims to preserve the unnoticed details of everyday life.
T: @EmmaHaworth7 | I: @emmahaworth7
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