06 | 16 : Chris McCabe
30th Birthday, Musselburgh
And sat under the papier-mache mermaid,
the table an afterlife of seafood –
like your first memory: starfish
along the railway tracks.
Purple flints in the emptied wineglass –
for so long pregnant, frosted finger-tacks.
Our baby’s head grinds itself under your ribs –
above the table, an atlas on its latches.
Then you’re pale in the wings of the dressing-table
mirror, a Victorian on amphetamines.
And this is how we find ourselves somewhere –
the harbourside town of Musselburgh
outside the boarding school for 18 year olds
it makes me glad to be working class
I’d rather have no money & be free.
That oyster, this plate, will bit-part a new life –
but what will the world make of the cells under
a mother’s ribs, already having formed themselves?
Chris McCabe was born in Liverpool in 1977. His poetry collections are The Hutton Inquiry, Zeppelins and The Restructure. He has recorded a CD with The Poetry Archive and written a play Shad Thames, Broken Wharf, which was performed at the London Word Festival and subsequently published by Penned in the Margins in 2010. He works as a Librarian at The Poetry Library, London, and teaches for The Poetry School.