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Issue Two,

Autumn 2020


Vanessa Lampert


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.

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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 SpoonfeedVanessa’s first pamphlet 'On Long Loan’ has just been published by Live Canon. Vanessa lives in Oxfordshire and works as an acupuncturist.

QUINCE magazine

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