Motherhood as Refuge

In the next life, if you’re a mouse,
I’ll be tall grass so you can run unnoticed,
or if you’re a brown rat, I’ll be a garden shed
that you can burrow under, if you’re a seabird
I’ll be an island you can nest on, if you’re a fish
I’ll come out in colours as a coral reef,
if you’re a spider, I’ll be a brick wall
with a creephole for you to hide in,
or if in another life, you find yourself
to be a bat, I’ll be the dark you need to hunt in,
I’ll be the barn you need to roost in,
or maybe you’ll find that you’ve come back
as a rarity, a Walney geranium that grows
only in one place, in all the world –
then wait for me, I’ll be that place, I’ll turn myself
into Walney Island, a strip and spit of land
grey seals can haul themselves upon,
and if you become a buff-tailed bumble bee,
I’ll be the compost heap you sleep in,
and even if you come back as something darker,
something harder – a tumour perhaps,
maybe you need a body to live inside,
I will give you mine, here is my bowel,
it will keep you safe from harm, I’ll put myself
to the bottom of every waiting list, turn down
the operation, this was the bargain,
the promise I made, my life as refuge,
my life as harbour, my life for yours each time. 

© Kim Moore, creative writing lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Manchester Writing School.

Kim's latest collection is
All the Men I Never Married
(Seren Books, 2021)

Kim Moore

Kim Moore’s first pamphlet If We Could Speak Like Wolves was a winner in the 2011 Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition, and went on to be shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award and the Lakeland Book of the Year. Her first full length collection The Art of Falling (Seren 2015) won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Her second collection All The Men I Never Married was published by Seren in 2021 and won the 2022 Forward Prize for Best Collection. Her first non-fiction book What The Trumpet Taught Me was published by Smith/Doorstop in May 2022. She won an Eric Gregory Award and the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2010 and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Poem in 2015. She won the 2020 Ledbury Poetry Competition and was placed third in the 2021 Mslexia Poetry Competition.