Two poems by Natalie Shaw

How to tell your son he has no friends

You will get the first bit wrong: he won’t
be able to meet your eye. In the dark,
you can hold his hand and stroke his hair.
Forget the things you said this morning.
Forget the things you said this morning.

Take him to the pool and swim
together. He’ll start off scared, you can
take your time. Unwrap him gently,
hold him in the water. Together
you’ll watch the water slap with light;

it will start to sparkle up
through your tummies; you can laugh,
first him, then you. Your cracked-up shells
are smoothing over, your scrambled bits
are safe inside again. Go back,

back in the dark to see his outline,
the shape of who he is, the gap
that spools and spools around his shadow.
Tell him it’s your gap too, tell him,
tell him. Hear him breathe.
 
(previously published in Degna Stone’s anthology Deseeded Vol 3)
 
 
Hera at Triyoga

I wasn’t expecting the milk just then, it streamed
right over the baby’s head, across my lap

and started a whole new constellation just
before the baby massage class began.

I did my best to be discreet and catch it
in a muslin so that no one noticed

but it wasn’t easy once the stars had
started pinging round the room, hitting

walls and fittings, making such a racket
that every single baby stopped its murmur

to look at all this stuff – and just for that
one instant there wasn’t any sound as all

the babies turned their faces up to stars
and then the crying for the milk began.
 
(previously unpublished)
 
 
 
Natalie Shaw lives and works in London, with children of varying ages and a kind husband. Her poetry appears in numerous print and online journals and anthologies, most recently Schooldays (Paper Swans) and The Very Best of 52 (Nine Arches Press). Twitter @redbaronski
 

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