She takes her child-small hands from her pockets, shakes them
till her fingers tingle at the pads, shelters air in her palms
as if it were a white-blue egg that might just wake.

Her time ticks in shameful hours – cedared, Yardley-soaped,
she hides at the back behind black dresses, chiffon blouses,
knee-high boots until the lolling egg rolls from her grasp, white-blue,

slips from her fingertips and she watches it (as if in slow motion)
collide with the edge of the wardrobe door. Skull first,
it’s struck like plate glass and she’s stuck in no man’s land

with only startled air and centimetres between them.
Her voice, huddled in her throat, lets out only the slightest sound,
amniotic fluid flows in rivulets down her wrists, spills like silk.