Ibis. A poem for my daughter by Maggie Sawkins

This is what I heard:
you are holed up in a hotel
named after one of the first birds

Noah released from the Ark
and, confined to your room,
you are going slowly berserk.

I imagine you cloaking
the corporate eiderdown
around your shoulders,

stepping to the window,
blowing cigarette smoke
into the uncommonly quiet

city street. A strange break,
it must seem, to have been sent
here to protect others

from the virus lurking in doorways.
Perhaps I should write
a letter from the heart,

letting on that I share your fear;
reminding you of the hope
I still have, precious as flight.

But for now, I will include your name
in a prayer to a God I barely
believe in. It’s a start.

Maggie Sawkins | Portsmouth
1 June 2020


I live in Portsmouth, UK where I run creative writing projects in community settings. In 2013 I won the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for ‘Zones of Avoidance’. http://www.hookedonwords.me

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