The Size Of It
Days after his birth, dazed with love,
I leave the house, my baby son’s life
warm beneath my jacket.
He’s wearing the red hat
that took just an evening to knit. It’s too big,
that’s how small his head is.
He’s so young, as yet he has no name,
and I step into the path of a cyclist
careering down the hill
who clips my side, not hard enough
to hurt me, but hurtles
in a terrible cartwheel across the road
then stands to drag his buckled bike
my way, to name for me
the thing that might have happened,
but had not. His finger points,
his mouth prepares to shout.
Then, catching sight of the tiny child,
he raises the palms of his wounded hands,
and silently turns to go.
It’s taken me half my life
to know, another mother
had loved that man
whose name I shall never know.
Vanessa Lampert holds an MA in Writing Poetry from Newcastle University and Poetry School London. In 2020 she came first in the Café Writers Prize, and the Ver Poetry Prize, second in the Fish Poetry Prize and was highly commended in the Newcastle and Segora Poetry prizes. She has been published widely in magazines, most recently in Magma, The Moth and Spoonfeed. Vanessa’s first pamphlet 'On Long Loan’ has just been published by Live Canon. Vanessa lives in Oxfordshire and works as an acupuncturist.