A poem by Harry Man


The white artery of your spine
hovers beneath a butterfly’s ghost;

wings budding into flight
twice a second, heartbeat by heartbeat.

The isthmus of your foot kicks in the fluid –
the pressure of the sensor is ticklish.

With the end of his biro the doctor
circles your magnified hand gloved in light

and this shimmer, this afterthought of air
in the trees is the breath of your mother.

Night-blind you will fumble back
to its anthem through the clicks

of your hardening head.
This song, secret as a light switch,

is how your breathing will be.
The warmth of my wrist on your belly;

your pulse and mine in time –
the first of your strengths is to be loved.
(first published in Popshot Magazine, 2012)

Harry Man was born in Aylesbury in 1982 and lives in South London. He won third prize in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition and his work has appeared in Poems in the Waiting Room, Popshot, Astronaut, New Welsh Review and Elbow Room among other places. He is also a member of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen.