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Maternal instinct, apparently, is a thing

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The hen recognises its slicked baby

crouched on the clovered grass,

legs like needles, shell in finished pieces.

The dolphin slips love to its calf with milk,

choreographs a contoured dance.

The lioness silhouettes the ground, prowls

a motherly ferocity, shadows her cubs,

growls at any creature who treads nearby.


In the velvet hours of night

my flesh and bones ease

into the tub chair, son slumped

with sleep-warmth along belly curve,

his questioning eyes hazelled

by the moon. I unbutton my nightshirt

at the first cry, but I’m unsure of the nature

of his call. I have to stand.

My back burns with blossom

and hedgerow, my son clings pink

against my hip.


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