Afterbirth

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The carob seedling that took two years
to grow two feet was planted over
half of the placenta that took
nine months and eleven days to develop
and forty minutes to birth
into a bucket, so dense with my blood
it looked like crushed raspberries.

There are pieces of me buried all over,
one beneath a pomegranate tree
in a nearby Andalusian garden;
another under an apple tree in a
Norfolk farm – the only one in the orchard
to fruit the first year.

The goodness of meat
that once nourished my babies
before they opened their mouths to eat
the meat that died in the act of birth
now feeds those stalks and leaves,
sipped thoughtfully by xylem and phloem
(words I learned eighteen and a half
years ago, the only ones that have
travelled forward from Science GCSE)
and plumps out fruit that I
shrink from eating lest it be
cannibalism:
my flesh into theirs,
vegan victuals from viscera.

Parts of me are already underground.
The backward-rolling echo of tombs
reaches me half-asleep, feeding
a dozing baby, not knowing if an hour or
ten minutes have passed, the way
the mind dashes forward during prayer
and a third rak’ah feels like a fourth.

Time is plastic when one has already put
an organ into a tiny grave, when one’s footprint there
roots the soul to the soil. It owns me now
in three segments, yearning for the last piece
(currently in my freezer) to join them underneath
an avocado sapling, followed one day
by the rest. Like taproots busy seeking
low lying aquifers there are unseen ligaments
that tie me to the world
so that the hot air balloon of my thoughts
– straining against its ropes –
does not spiral off and be vaporised
by the sharp edge of the atmosphere.

There are parts of me
all over, buried too deep
for dogs and foxes to despoil
deep as the bones of an ‘aqiqah lamb
must be buried too.

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The Geometry of Day

Gyroscopic waltz
of clock-face time
lines thread triangularly
interlinking hours
the geometry of day is
hexagonally precise
minutes marching past
in ageless triplets

That lopsided rhythm
ebbs out into another
roof-like symmetry
swinging gait of walkers
two hands clapping
echos bounces back once
double blink
heartbeat call response
poles united in marital opposition
galloping tides
breathe in breathe out
that old familiar you and I
all live in binary code

His dark image has a copy
in blond, one half the height
mine’s a four-kilo brunette
we are reproduced the way
spontaneous eggs split
dancing outwards with
our doppelgangers
spiralling like genomes
non-existence without other
need a face to gaze into
my own to make it real

The four-footed chair
wears wonky if
the sitters scrape it down
drag it across rough terracotta
tiles from spot to spot.

We hold on to our form
together we take shape
in fourfold.