Baby Loss Awareness Week
Your sister told me proudly that crocodiles carry their young in their mouths.
Only the ashes of your name remain on my tongue.
These, and the soft emptiness you left behind.
Grief is a dam.
Love without label or tag,
Nowhere to go.
I could carry you in my mouth,
in my pouch,
or any part of me.
Your father will bear the cut,
and I will stem the bleed,
collected in my little silver thimble.
See? They’ve taken it away,
and here and now,
at the very end
do I grieve.
-Elizabeth Castillo (It first appeared in The Tuna Fish Journal https://www.tunafishjournal.com/i3elizabethmcastillo
Portrait of a Girl-Child
I’ve never been skilled with likeness / paint, pencil,
even charcoal / none are talents of mine / I lie here,
floor level / wealth of media within arms’ reach /
trace the outlines of your almost-perfection / etch them
boldly like the rise / and fall of the monitor display /
/ failing heartbeat / failed attempt /failed me / paint
a pair of rosebud lips / full / like mine /red / iron-wrought
like the blood of your arrival / like the blood of your
departure /probably translucent / like your skin / like
the sack / crudely-formed / that couldn’t contain you /
you had my hair / unruly mane swirling defiantly
about your head / an amniotic crown / fit for royalty /
I named you Hera / queen of the Gods / like your
namesake you fade / with your heartbeat / into myth
/ smudge softness into the rounded parts of you /
anaemic breath blown into each curve / the crests
and peaks of your face / hazy now / like the voices
whispering of / rest / and / blood loss / my mind / my
breasts are confused / I can’t feel you / can’t make
you out anymore / something has happened /I’ve
done something wrong / the picture is fading / the
portrait is marred / just a single tear / single mark
across my abdomen / across the screen / blood /
quiet chaos all about me / now just remains the
silhouette / a concave belly / a flatline /
-Elizabeth Castillo (First appeared in Feral Poetry https://feralpoetry.net/portrait-of-a-girl-child-by-elizabeth-m-castillo/
Bios And Links
-Elizabeth M. Castillo
is a British-Mauritian poet, writer, indie-press promoter. She lives in Paris with her family and two cats, where she writes a variety of different things under a variety of pen names. In her writing Elizabeth explores themes of race & ethnicity, motherhood, womanhood, language, love, loss and grief, and a touch of magical realism. She has words in, or upcoming in Selcouth Station Press, Pollux Journal, Revista Purgante, Bandit Fiction, StreetCake Magazine, Fevers of the Mind Press, Melbourne Culture Corner, Epoch Press, among others. Her bilingual, debut collection Cajoncito: Poems on Love, Loss, y Otras Locurasis out 2021. You can connect with her on Twitter and IG at @EMCWritesPoetry.