She writes in pale blue indelible
across the ruled page –
place of birth, cause of death.
In time, the ink will darken to slate.
Later still, the veins of her letters
will fill with indigo.
My father’s blood drained from his face
to gather at his spine.
His chilly skin, still smooth and soft
was what I recognized.
She writes with care, her vowels round,
Ischaemic Heart Disease.
Through her blouse
are flicks of lace.
Her pumping heart is near.
(from I’ll Dress One Night as You Salt, 2009)
Chrissie Gittins was born in Lancashire and lives in Forest Hill in South London. She writes poetry, radio drama, short stories, and poetry for children.