‘The Cord’ by Maggie Sawkins

The Cord

When I thought of what she was carrying
I imagined it the colour of silt,

and if it had eyes then they were the eyes
of a fish long out of water.

I imagined it soulless, like a stone
(a stone cannot haunt one’s dreams),

so that if it was taken from us,
we’d be glad to be rid of it.

I hadn’t reckoned for the sound
of its unborn heartbeat

that was the heartbeat of a colt
cantering towards grass

or when it came, its mewl –
the physicality of detachment.

When the nurse asked if I would cut it,
I could not cut it.

(first published in Magma)
Maggie Sawkins won the 2013 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for her live literature production Zones of Avoidance . She lives in Portsmouth where she works with people in recovery from addictions. Her previous collections are Charcot’s Pet (Flarestack), and The Zig Zag Woman (Two Ravens Press).