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“how much longer

can I keep your feet from emerald beetles, scorching pavement, rising

water?”

The night before your seventh birthday we play a game –

I must ferry you, a prince, from room to room

Your bare feet mustn’t touch the floor or else

green beetles everywhere!

I laugh and lug you down the hall to stand you in the bath.

For weeks now I’ve been yanking down the blinds to block the sun

which beats our kitchen window a solemn drum,

but while our game plays on there’s thunder then a rain so hard

it shakes the bathroom’s frosted pane Rain, Mum! Can you hear the rain?

I brush your teeth and shift you on my hip but how much longer

can I keep your feet from emerald beetles, scorching pavement, rising

water? I drop you gently on the sofa. Green beetles everywhere –

On the news we see the iceberg broken off Antarctica

is on its way towards South Georgia. It’s three years old, the scientist says.

But that’s nearly half of me.  

Hannah Lowe

Hannah Lowe is a writer based in London. Her first poetry collection, Chick (Bloodaxe, 2013), won the Michael Murphy Memorial Award. In 2014, she was named as one of 20 Next Generation British poets and won a Cholmondeley Award in 2020. Her third collection, The Kids, will be published by Bloodaxe in 2021. hannahlowe.me and Twitter @hannahlowepoet © Hannah Lowe
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