Relics

In the box, at the bottom of my wardrobe,
hidden among tiny shoes and daubed handprints,
lie 3 curious objects - smooth, white, alien:
heralds of new life.

Your sisters’ bold pink vie for darkest,
but do not overshadow you;
they fall around you protectively, possessively.
You are their sister – or brother.

The match burnt out as soon as it was struck;
but held to the candle, the wick caught -
and the flame flickered, then faded.
For the briefest moment you lived.

When I’m gone and my secrets unearthed,
amid the grief (I hope!), hilarity and horror
that I should have kept such queer mementos,
and the realization: there was a third.

And, yes, strange relics I admit,
stained and watermarked as they are;
but it is the only you I can ever hold, so you’ll remain
in the box, at the bottom of my wardrobe.

 

Tanya Kneller