Angela T Carr
Angela T Carr is a poet, editor and creative writing facilitator. Winner of the iYeats International Poetry Competition 2019 and The Poetry Business 2018 Laureate's Prize, Angela's had work placed or shortlisted in over 40 national and international literary competitions. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The North, The Lonely Crowd, The London Magazine, Poetry Birmingham, Strix, Mslexia and elsewhere. Originally from Glasgow, Angela now lives in Dublin.
Girl with Child
on a Swan's Wing
Grave 8: Mesolithic Cemetery
at Vedbaek, Denmark
I was a girl when my father brought me to him –
my dowry, the tawny-sheened hide of a buck,
twenty bright strings of the teeth of a roe –
I came, the tremble of a small wild thing.
I came, a creature caught – a hunger,
a heart, its string the beat of the forest.
Strangers stripped me, braided shells in my hair,
said my sons would be warriors, a chief’s kin:
And my daughters, I thought, what of them?
Men killed boars to roast and feast, the night air
thick with smoke, their flesh, a drum and burning stars –
they writhed about his head as he took me.
In time, my belly grew a boy, a fawn – he kicked
and quickened, my nearly child – I hunted him
across three starless nights and, blooded, fell.
Women washed my corpse, wreathed me in ivory,
daubed me blue – my wedding fine, a pillow. They wept
as they bore us out through the grasswood huts,
past the hummocks of the elder dead, to the shade
of the trees, laid out where the black earth bared
and the sun, a bone knife, speared the charging sea.
A tithe of red ochre, blown from a bowl
drifted down, clotting where the birth-tide flowed.
We were put to ground in the lope of the wolf's moon,
my breathless boy in the cuff of a swan's wing –
flint blade at his belly – and I, ringed in teeth,
all the beasts of the forest at my throat.
Each ripe fig has at its heart a devoured wasp:
a solitary female, to pollinate
the fruit's inverted blossom; she crawls in
at the meeting of the bracts, the ostiole:
a hole so small it rips her antennae,
splits the tectonic opacity
of skeletal wings; sky-bereft and undone,
she nonetheless tends the fig's dark garden,
its minute inflorescence – strokes stigma,
seeds stamen, tucks her eggs into the styles
of ovule florets – and settles into death:
the enzymatic gall of her own deflowering.
Sink your tongue into the burst of purple skin;
mouthful of fleshy sweetness, born of a sting.
Quadratic Love Song
So many things will sit inside a square –
a book, a bell, a tooth, a cup, a bone –
but who would look and think to find them there?
Who’d ink their shape in light when there was none?
I think about the square that is a house,
a room, where footsteps creak the wooden boards –
the one that’s empty of the two of us –
I’d name the sound if I could find a word.
Though you were never one to fit a tongue
or root equations as are graphed by hand –
you’d lay your shadow as your sun demands
and slip through pauses tighter than a drum.
My arms have learned to love the weight of air,
to circle what won’t linger in a square.
Girl with Child on a Swan's Wing: The North (No. 62)
The Truth About Figs: The London Magazine
Quadratic Love Song: The Lonely Crowd (No. 10)