Chance wanted me
to be born in eight months,
mother fell down the stairs one night
and her shock caused my early birth
with all the hurry that’s got into my marrowbone.
Chance. This I was thinking when you phoned me
and wished me happy birthday
in the rattling, whining and roar of the train.
Chance yes, and in my mind’s stream flashed
my dog’s leash that by chance got stuck
in between two rocks on the beach
and my dog howling when I left her there tied up,
to look for help.
I found a pair of scissors and cut the thick cloth, hard job
in the sea roar, eyes watering in the wind, one arm
at an odd angle and the pressing fingers soon red and bruised.
Chance, things happen, mother who has always been
unstable on her feet, her ankles swelling,
sprained so often, chance is just
unbearably alert, so we look for a tapestry in it
welding with faith the swarming of things.
I toast then the piece of a leash stuck in a chink
with the bright blood of birthday
and mother’s slipping feet on the stairs’ brink,
all here tossed in the irises
of a lurking god, the sun
that runs in between the poplars’ leaves
and the train sweeping me on.