SPOTLIGHT: Birth Mote(s) by Annie Cowell

Ghosts of bougainvillea

We glowed like fireflies that night as we
danced. High in the mountains
above ruined Bellapais,
where earlier you’d vowed
your ‘beautiful peace’,
we flickered amongst bougainvillea
petals plucked for confetti;
kicking up bare heels stained scarlet.
We were a tribe of moths
caught in pools of moonlight,
stars winking above us.
How small we were against sky and ocean
stretching beyond Five Finger Mountain.
The darkness was lavender – sweet scent
of early summer promises.
How fragile our joy; each
moment a mote of memory.

Later, when autumn clouds the sky
and blows leaves like spectres from the trees
we will sprinkle those motes in the rain.

(first published in Forge Zine Summer Edition 2022)


Autumn arrives early
in a message
you are at the hospital
it says
Pre – eclampsia, organs failing
baby may be
Born. still.
The word winds me.
It is three short days
since you made your vows
and we danced
under the stars
It is too soon
for birth
much too soon.
I shiver as someone
walks over my grave
feel green turning to brown
and call you.

Room 412

Swipe entry, entrance
Swipe entry, lift
Swipe entry, corridor
Swipe entry, room

Swipe, swipe, swipe
The lift stinking of
KFC, cheap scent, B.O, vomit
opens to a blue carpet corridor
Our new home is room 412
The hastily packed suitcase
a disemboweled carcass in the corner
It’s where
we eat take outs, a carton
of milk and bananas stashed
on the window ledge.
It’s where we wait for news,
for messages which send us
running to the hospital
It’s where
I perch on the bed
and look out of
the window to the rooftops,
a spire, a tower.
There is a pigeon sky
splattered with clouds
planes and seagulls
and treetops where the leaves
are still green and dancing in the wind


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