Two Poems by Joanna Ingham

Mother as a list of locations

The path in the park
where I said just stop crying,
just stop it, JUST STOP IT
as I pushed you over the ruts.

The slope above the cathedral
where I shoved you off
my lap so hard you rolled
away across the grass.

The playground where I sank
and went on sinking, but
you made me haul my body up
and lift you into a swing.

The kitchen where I screamed
at you for breaking
my grandmother’s bowl
as if you’d meant to hurt me.

The bedroom where I threw
your book against the wall
and you looked at me like
you wished I was someone else.


The nest lies in the road, cupped hand
of moss and fleece, tender, half-made.
There is human hair too. A woman

stands by the gate in her nightdress,
brushing her hair as the children pass.
She hopes that she can make them speak,

throw words at her like crumbs of bread.

Joanna Ingham‘s pamphlet Naming Bones was published by ignitionpress in 2019. She won the Paper Swans Press Single Poem Competition in 2020. Her poetry has appeared widely in journals and magazines, and has also featured in The Sunday Times. Twitter @ingham_joanna