You looked like a scuffed child-bride
of Christ, a ghost
in broderie anglaise, a new
bangle on your play-bruised wrist,
your nan’s crucifix stuck
to the jam stain on your chest.
It was hot as you posed for photos:
boys pinching; girls
hissing their secret wounds.
What you remember is not
the thorn-shaped burn
on your dress, or how your dad’s
glasses darkened to the sun; not
your mum’s twisting fingers
or the distance between your siblings,
but the warm rasp of Sister
Aideen’s voice, motes
of spit lifting from her enraptured
mouth as she swayed and sang
You Are The Gift.
How you felt met when she winked
at you; how gratefully you took her smile.
(from Milk Fever)
Kaddy Benyon was recently named a Granta New Poet and her first collection, Milk Fever, will be published by Salt in November 2012.