When I was ten Grandad made me a coffin–
bone-white, six inches long. Cushioned lining
nestled a Dracula in dinner jacket and cape.
Smattering of red about his blanched face
betraying a recent feed, the vampire manikin
rose on thin wires when the lid was unlatched.
All I can remember when I’m shown yours,
ushered by the nurse into a strangely narrow room
where you’ve been placed on an old school-chair.
A nun lurks with literature confirming your soul.
In the half-raised sash window an alabaster Christ
overlooks the Children’s communal plot.
Presented with a phial of holy water,
I sprinkle the lot – ignorant of procedure –
across the toy casket in a broken vertical line,
watching blessed water drip onto overly-bleached tiles.
Only thinking later I should’ve wetted a finger
to make the cruciform watermark, only thinking later
of liquid cells seeking each other in darkness,
droplets quivering before pooling,
of burgeoning life out-sprinting the elements,
the primordial hungering for a simple hug.
Of you waiting in contained gloom
to rise on thin wires at the lid’s opening.
Published in Vastarien