for Gail McConnell
How much of what we scribble down survives –
Sappho’s miraculous bits and pieces,
Dialect words for kitchen utensils,
See-through dresses, moonbeams – somebody
At a busy street corner advising
Where to shop for chickpeas and mascara.
Let blank spaces between parentheses
Be annotated thus by me and you
Who loiter in the margin, Sapphic souls –
Silence that has lasted a thousand years
Is poetry of a kind, Gail, poetry
Like a brain-child impatient to be born.
O suburban parthenogenesis,
I eavesdrop on a holy family –
Sappho would have fallen for Beth and you –
Two mothers, two wives, a baby boy’s
Thumb-sucking bliss, glistening eyelids,
Hazel-nuts safe beneath a Lesbos sky.