by Carolyn Jess-Cooke

There was this baby who thought she was a hand grenade.
She appeared one day in the centre of our marriage
– or at least in the spot where all the elements of our union
       appeared to orbit
and kept threatening to explode, emitting endless alarm-sounds
             that were difficult to decode.
On the ridge of threat, we had two options.
One was attempt to make it to the bottom
of the crevasse slowly, purposively, holding hands. The other
             was see how long we could stand there philosophising
             that when she finally went off we’d be able to take it.
But then the baby who believed she was a hand grenade
             was joined in number: several more such devices entered our lives.
We held on, expecting each day to be our last. We did not let go.
As you might expect, she blew us to smithereens.
We survived, but in a different state than before: you became
             organised, I discovered patience, shrapnel soldered the parts of us
             that hadn’t quite fit together before. Sometimes when I speak
it’s your words that come out of my mouth.