Winners 2012

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Millie Guille (Third prizewinner)

St Bartholomew’s School, Newbury, Berkshire

Maiden Voyage

Your absence moves me
a little to the left.
I follow scuff marks
round the skirting,
the blanched white
of footfall blossoming
like blood, as though by
following the crease
I finger veins, thrombosis;
the bulging plaster spreads

its clots along your pattern
and I pop them, bubble-wrap
your blood with my flotsam
and bear you, per quarter
for minimum rent, while you
decorate the dry wall,
move furniture. I know
that the kicks weren’t you,
but the sofa scraping along
the floor, or pictures

squirming off their hooks
as you kept me awake,
the radio playing muffled
Westerns and Alabama blues,
the slow, foot-tapping soul
Which made you lean against
my spine, and I, half convinced
to find you smoking on the ultrasound,
evicted you. Gave a day or two
through indecision, the bond of

mother – child resembling
tenant and proprietor,
as you scarred the membrane,
split the womb; let the wallpaper
lie in rolls as you moved out,
crouching on the bunk bed
in your adolescence, the journey
in-between seeming inconsequential,
though now I stand in the middle
of this space, my maiden voyage
beached on goodbye – the champagne
on my chest merely an irritant,
like the miniscule cross on the
pregnancy test, which took
twenty-three years
to mean positive.

© Millie Guille, 2012

Project Details

  • Date February 9, 2015
  • Tags 2012 Voyages - Winning Poems