The Night That Robin Died
I remember it best as burnt lips and black
that night when the mouth of the house spat
you and your terminal news out to the stars
and back. Before the last evening hours
had passed, flame yielding life to the ember,
the crack of your ash called a duskdark September
too soon to its spring. It was the summer to never
remember. Robin, that radio screamed all the night
like your ambulance light living on and tight
was my wren-clenched flesh, was the glut
in my throat for you, lost-light bird never cut
from the cage. The age that was yours was the loudest
and long, but that old August day blew its dust
far on past those bones growing epigraph-grey:
a memento that death is just one storm away.
These days, one more last-light life blown out,
the heart in my body beats that much more loud.
Oh gallow-bound you with the ballroom grin,
for each crowd at your feet another rose out in
a mutual call, a language too dark for the masses
at all. That fall from the world, as springtime passes
its breath to the last, was the black blacker blackest
that my past has carried. After that passage, dusk folded
and wearied away, I stood at the gate summer-coated
to wait, watching your far-flaming ghostlight fade.
You never doubted the fire that flared, that made
you a light living on in that night. While bone-body dies
and we look to the stars bygone-bright in your eyes,
know only your laughter lit hearthstone and home.
Know yours is the name never lost from the stone.
Laura Potts is twenty-two years old and lives in West Yorkshire, England. Twice-recipient of the Foyle Young Poets Award, her work has been published by Aesthetica, The Moth and The Poetry Business. Having worked at The Dylan Thomas Birthplace in Swansea, Laura was nominated for The Pushcart Prize and became one of the BBC’s New Voices last year. Her first BBC radio drama aired at Christmas. She received The Mother’s Milk Writing Prize and a commendation from The Poetry Society in 2018.