You and I have perfected being invisible,
to be the disappearing dot as people move on
we will always be children growing grey like shovelled snow.
You and I have swallowed bruises from joy at others’ children,
made chemical love with natural hopes to conceive
mourned in revelations of blue stripe tombs.
We wanted a baby so bad I held you like one in our Ikea tomb.
At seven PM on the dot we mixed potions dead of magic
I was so close to your skin and noticed you had gone.
You and I have heard it all like how one day it will happen for us
like Sheila and Tom down the road who sold a house for seed,
one night I stood naked in the firelight and doused the flames.
You alone knew that our spines are like hand rails on tube trains,
everyone is leaving and there is only you and I in the dark eye
the pin-prick daylight will not conceive us and we no longer weep.
I alone knew that my bloodline stops with me, thank god it stops
but remember the cherry tree that blossomed then died
they cut it down and the roots fought hard to keep it.
I alone know that you and I are sick and fucking tired of polite sadness,
to avoid the conversations that make others feel awkward because we are,
to realise that some family trees bear fruit so sweet it makes the wind smell bitter.
You alone know that the sharps box is Pandora’s box letting us out,
the needles mock us like talons of a crow on Jacobite earth
next week is our check-up but we are nether here or there.
I alone know as a man who sees our children writhing in the dreamcatcher
that there is a beach with a gate for us where the sea-smoke cools the sun,
I alone know that the manger of loving you is more than tangible life.
Antony Owen was raised in the industrial heartland of Coventry which is a notable inspiration of his work. Owen is also a critically acclaimed writer on war poems with work translated in Japanese, Mandarin and Dutch. His fifth collection of poetry, The Nagasaki Elder, (V.Press) was published in September 2017 and is already its 2nd print run. The Nagasaki Elder was inspired by direct testimonies of atomic bomb survivors taken in Hiroshima plus evacuees displaced from conflict. Owen’s work has been commissioned by BBC and National Poetry Day and is regularly taught in Hiroshima at monthly poetry workshops by Professor Klein. He was chosen by CND UK as one their first national peace education patrons alongside AL Kennedy. Owen was also a recipient Coventry’s 2016 Peace & Reconciliation Award.