On Being 30

On Being 30

Baby at my breast
I fall into his eyes
Utterly in love
With this unformed creature
This stranger who arrived
Needing me to nurture him
Into the future

The room is full of smoke
From the wood burning stove
I have spoken to no one in days
And eaten only anything I could
Snatch unprepared
A sandwich, apple, piece of cheese.

The child asleep at last
I daren’t move from the chair
In case I waken him
And try to find some peace
In the moment
Gazing into the painting on the wall
I made myself while pregnant
Its abstract pattern leading me into
A vortex of quiet darkness

I must not think of my mother’s words
In a recent rare letter from abroad
“You and your baby will not be welcome in our house”
(the “our” underlined)
I must not worry where the next stack of chopped wood
To keep us warm, will come from.
Brian, my baby’s father, but no longer my lover,
Brought the last lot
The least he could do.
But then he fell on a spike
Which pierced his leg

The old Fiat 500 I bought from
Savings of a summer picking fruit
Pregnant up a ladder
Sits broken outside
I don’t know how to fix it
Or who to ask

The French peasants in this tiny village
Eye me with suspicion
English whore here to steal their husbands.

There is an English lady who lives in the house
Guarding the one road out of and into the village
She has five sons and loves babies.

She wants to help me with mine

Every day I push my baby along that road
Away from her house
Towards the cul-de-sac which becomes
A charming footpath along a stream
The Pyrenees rising green and majestic
On either side

I take solace from the beauty
I am blessed to live within
And from fierce protective instincts
Towards my son
From the sunshine on my face
And dreams of owning a piece of France
To keep chickens and goats
And run naked and free with my child

But there comes a moment when
Common Sense forces itself on my youthful dreams
A step towards maturity and a sensible life
The moment when I can take no more isolation
Starvation, deprivation
No more lonely anguish when
My baby screams in the night

The moment when I let the English lady
Show me how to calm my baby’s crying
Use her phone to call a mechanic
And take me to the shops in her car

I am terrified she will steal my child
For he has the same father as her own boys.