Jessica Wisenfield (London, UK)

Liz Berry: I found this poem very moving and thought it soared at its best moments.


My old head, feather-white, greets yours, 

cautious as those once-children.

Your eyes, your eyes, goodnight-closed,

which watched powder billow 'bout jacaranda blooms

and met mine,

Shell-shocked in Tehran. 


Are we the same, I and you,

Son-stripped in middle life?

Our sun-struck sons,

Born and bored and raised in angry summers,

given in to harsher springs-


Your throat sounds a siren,

and mine,

hapless mothers. 


Remember him, then, once-mother,

as I do mine

My usfur dari, your cageling,

wheeling in unhurried flight

with tearless battle-cry from childish


And now the radios are silenced,

I give you back your son

(you cannot give me mine)

and chalk dust is settling on the prison dove cote.








poem © Jessica Wisenfield