Karem Barratt



I had a dream of wings.

Long, strong, shimmering grey,

Yet so delicate as a spider web

Holding a single drop of morning dew.

And I flew.

High, above, my finger grazing clouds

Over the sea, dancing at times

With manta rays and pilot whales,

Who jumped out, curiously, to see me.

I had a dream, of being light,

In every sense of the word.

Of knowing nothing but love

And a song to express it all. And I sang.

And my heart, that was not of flesh,

Seemed to rise within me, expand,

Wanting to embrace the whole of creation

Into the garden inside my chambers

Of life.

And I laughed. And I played.

And if there was ugliness in the world

I was blind to it; deaf to pain;

Oblivious to the desperate cry of

Mothers at night.

But a mother’s cry can brake

Distances and dimensions.

It can cross the universe and

Unsettled the rotation of whole


And I heard one.

And my heart of baby chicks’

Dawn, became heavy as stone.

My wings could not hold me,

No matter how hard they tried,

As I fell into a place of dirt, and grief,

And fears.

In my dream, I found her sleeping,

This mother in pain, her tired head

Nested in her arms, as she bent

Over the child’s bed.

The cold, pale child

Who was about to die.

And the heart in me, that once

Could hold the world complete,

Shrank, to a withered rose

Abandoned in a dusty corner.

I don’t know why I did it.

Children, people, pets, die every day.

I don’t remember how I did it.

I just remember the agony and the pain,

And the screams from my throat

That no one heard.

And the tears. Burning my face.

And as I was about to leave,

Bloody and weak,

I saw the child gain some colour,

A tiny smile on his lips,

As he wrapped himself cosily in

My warm, pearly grey wings.

It was a dream, of course.

It was just a dream,

I tell myself, every day,

As I pretend not to see the two scars on my back,

Two rifts of dead, purple flesh.

angel wings baby

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