Summer is almost over. The trees are turning and reddening, infinitesimally, and the swifts have long gone. I've missed doing this little blog and glad to be back.

Our boy went off to secondary school today. He looked small and a crumpled in the uniform of a man. Blazer with shoulders but not the bones to fill it, yet. Two bags across his body. A lunch to sustain. He let me kiss his soft cheek, smooth as the underside of a forearm, still lined with fat beneath the skin. He walked off, among the older people, to the side of a building, into an open door. I could not go with him. I could not help him find the room. I could only watch as he receded, and turn back to my daughter, waiting. 

Now I miss him. Ten years ago, he was one. He was everything to me, and my life was stacked in steppes around his day. Now I am alone, smoothing his sheets and picking up pyjamas. I miss him but I let him go, to make his own mistakes, to find the right classrooms, to learn the art of lunchtime queues and making himself right and real. But how I miss my little boy, my heart, my blood song, my truest love.


I can't wait to get him home and give him a hug. It's just the same feeling I had when I went back to work in 2003, when he was four months old. It was only part-time but there was this visceral tug that could only be assuaged by his actual physical presence, warm and heavy in my arms.  I still have this need to smell him, to come close and breathe in his own particular smell. I still sometimes breathe him in, while he is sleeping.
I wrote a poem about this feeling - it was the first poem I ever published - and I still remember the jolt of joy when I opened the letter telling me it was going to be published in Poetry News. That was back in 2006. Wow..

Here is is, anyway  

Sarah Westcott 
First Days

I left you at the nursery,
pink-eyed with fisted hands.
You blinked at other baby's wails,
lips curled on the cusp of a scream.
They lay you in a velour chair,
bobbed fleecy shapes across your face.
I rode towards a leaden Thames.
The office glared from yellow eyes.
I forgot to log-on, lost my pass.
Under the new suit my breasts wept milk.
When I got you home and kissed your neck
we were both already someone else.


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