(for Finnley, aged 3)
In years to come, they will lodge in his heart.
I won’t be me with a sterilised pin
Dislodging dashes of wooden rain
Aslant in his sole. He says it doesn’t hurt,
I don’t believe him. One fragment’s stubborn.
Dig deeper. If I were a mosquito
I’d anaesthetise his novice skin
Before each stab. And then I’d suck
With more conviction and no less zeal
Than Helen, mother of Constantine,
Who scoured the length and breadth of Christendom
For a piece of the real cross.
Got it! Kiss his reliquary skin.
from Sparrow Tree (Bloodaxe, 2011), © Gwyneth Lewis 2011, used by permission of the author.