The human parents, afraid to say I am wrong,
tuck me in at night. I watch
streetlights shape the ceiling. Sometimes I cry,
and sometimes the human child, the stolen
child, remembers for me: painting butterflies,
pancakes at dawn, her mother's palm.
She shares my memories too—patterns of lichen,
chill caves, day-long drips of water,
and myself as I was: a tree-root,
an empty burrow, a bat's shadow. Stolen.
I was stolen too. Unformed, I belonged only to myself
until shaped into arms and eyes and scream,
given a hairband and a schoolbag. Ballet slippers.
The human child, wild and laughing now,
she's always laughing, those dances
around peat-lakes never blister her feet.
I'm no longer made from rot and dark, but not
human, either. Under a pink duvet, wakeful.
In 2017, ROSAMUND TAYLOR won the inaugural Mairtín Crawford award and was nominated for a Forward Prize. Most recently, her work has appeared in Agenda, Orbis, Banshee, Crannóg and Magma. She has been twice short-listed for the Montreal International Poetry Prize, won joint second-place for the Patrick Kavanagh Award 2015, and is currently working on her first poetry collection. You can read more of her work on TheLearnedPig.Org (http://www.thelearnedpig.org/author/rosamund-taylor) and HeadStuff.org (https://www.headstuff.org/literature/typhoid/).