Consider this egg, 
how unlikely its survival.
Set here, in a well of brittle twigs,
balanced in the crook of a tree’s elbow. 

Left in trust, necessity,
this blue speckled tenderness
latchkeyed for slow hours,
the mother flies elsewhere. 

How delicate its thriving. 
Here, high in this exposed bowl,
precarious to an open sky,
ready for the hatch.

As the shell begins its slow crack,
a hairline fracture widens.
A gradual nudge-away of shell,
life’s empty-beaked start. 

A Little Flame Left

He walks a slow walk in front of the cars.
Long coat buttoned against winter air,
he leads the procession through iron gates.

He doesn’t wear the black leather gloves, 
but holds them, 
as if taking empty hands in his. 

As he stops, turns, 
bows his head to my father’s coffin,
he tips his hat as though he knew him all his life.

And afterwards, 
he brings the lilies,
cradles them close to his chest like a swaddled child.

He offers them over, sets them at our feet.
As he stands, a smudge of pollen clings to his breast pocket.
A little flame left, fixed over his heart. 

About the Author

Claire Walker’s poetry has been published in journals and magazines including Poetry Wales, Poetry Birmingham Literary Journal, The Interpreter’s House, Prole, Marble, and Ink Sweat and Tears. Her most recent solo publication is Collision (Against the Grain Poetry Press, 2019). Her pamphlet Somewhere Between Rose and Black (V. Press, 2017) was shortlisted for Best Poetry Pamphlet in the 2018 Saboteur Awards. Claire is co-editor of Atrium poetry webzine.