Bedtime Stories

Your duvet, flung with stars,
lies horizontal on the bed,
the soft parts gathered
in the bottom corner, like a hibernation.
But when I pull on it, to flatten the curves
you pull on a corner that is not a corner:
ball yourself like twisted cellophane.
I lift your book, fractured around eighty year old glue
into story slices that crack, then
slide away from their cover …

after one chapter I ask how your day was,
you say a boy asked where you lived
and said he was going to get you
and you are ten years old.

I feel the words deepen within me,
brace myself for being called an hysterical mother
or being told they didn’t mean in that way
or that they are such a lovely boy
or that this must be approached in a certain way.

I think about this boy’s mother,

I think, as I shuffle the story slices into their cover,

turn out the light.

Stella Hervey Birrell is an award-winning poet who has had work published by the Scottish Book Trust and highly commended by the Poetry Archive. Her website is tinylife140 blogand she can be found on Twitter @atinylife140.

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