Thursday Poem

You Are Not

You are not in the tulips,
not in their flailing stems
or shrivelled yellow petals
that alive you’d have painted;
not in the pearly wintry sky
or the scarred slopes of the hill
that before your legs failed
you’d have climbed;
not in the spiky firs
or eddies and swirls of the river
or in its still sandy pools
where in your youth
you’d have swum;
not in the beginning drizzle of snow,
or in the deer that hangs
in the larder with black hooves
and long delicate legs,
not in its heart or liver
that we ate last night for supper
and you would have relished.

I don’t know where you are
who loved all the things
I love; who I remember
hauling out of the bath –
tugging on arms I was afraid
of pulling from their sockets;
then drying and helping to dress
and guiding down slippery stone steps
to watch flycatcher chicks
leaving the nest, hearing
the peep peep peep
of their mother’s warning call.

Vicki Feaver
from Like a Fiend Hid in a Cloud
publisher: Jonathan Cape, London, 2013