Hannah Persaud, Labour


My tattered privacy, an eruption
You bursting my war-torn body, ripped out
Raped by the same tools that saved us, you came
Wrenched from the womb where you hid, silently
Lamb-like they peeled you away, our labour
A blood bathed battle, not tender, nor sweet.

First thoughts of you, hazed sunlit day, air sweet
With lilies and roses, this eruption
Of the garden from seeds sown in labour
We lay strewn, softly entwined limbs, cried out
In final throes before you, silently
Gifted yourself to us, in me, you came.

Forty-one weeks waiting before you came
A sleight of hand, soft cradled magic, sweet
Dreams cloaked with a frost of fear, silently
The world preparing for your interruption
Shifting streets and changing rooms, no way out
Each door opened for you, love, our labour

The garden dwindled, died, this new labour
Left no room for anything else, became
All consuming, the self I was cried out
In sorrow, to be left on the shelf, sweet
Memories gathered dust, the eruption
Loomed near, the horizon blotting silently

Your tiny body grew mine silently
My swollen body stolen for labour
Every pore secreting, this eruption
Turning us inside out, my love, you came
Into the best that we could give, my sweet
We wove a cloth to block the dark night out.

You drew closer as the moonlight shone out
We took our last walk in the woods, silently
Said goodbye to what we were losing, sweet
Hope danced in our darkened shadows, labour
Digging her fingers into my womb, she came.
A spinning arrow, the welcomed interruption

I cried out when my body split, broke silently
My love, the eruption of our silence came
Ended our labour so we could meet, my sweet.

Hannah won the InkTears Short Story Contest in 2017 and was runner-up in 2016. Recently she was shortlisted for the Cambridge Short Story Prize and she won the Fresher Writing Prize in 2016. Hannah has completed her debut novel and is represented by Laura Macdougall of United Agents. @HPersaud


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