2 Poems by Anne Bradshaw


My sister sits at my grave

and mourns the loss of herself.

She wears cool, black silk with small pearls

fastened round her neck which weep

like the babies she never had.

She leaves me her severed head

and walks home on four-inch stiletto heels

tapping out the rhythm of rain.

Flowers bloom in her wake which she never sees

but I feel their roots growing down into me.
An old habit, I would pick up the threads
that I wore each day
and patch them back together again.

But every time I felt
 less weft and weave,
         less give, less ease,
                  another stitch lost, less room to breathe…
I could hear them all breaking
as my fingers worked
and worked their strange and subtle dance

on a ripped corsage of threads
which suddenly weighed nothing, floating away
through a sliver of air
my skin revealing
secrets like

a reluctant bride’s clutched bouquet,
her lacework linen turned to stone
and the milk-white veil altered
in a gargoyle’s cold decay.

A pall of frozen silence stays my hand.
And soon my garb will be lichen,
the delicate filaments spidered
like veins through a dark glass,
and still threadbare.