Ella Walsworth-Bell is a speech therapist living and working in Cornwall. She writes about motherhood and mental health, sometimes at the same time. Her work has been published in Outspoken Press, Paperbound, Mythic Circle and Dawntreader. She cares for her autistic son and spends every summer living aboard a boat in the Isles of Scilly.
My cup is gene-heavy, we are spilling over, you and I. Mixing blood.
The women who’ve read the parenting books are elm-thin. I’m more dumpy oak
Yes, I wanted them. But really – all I knew to do was feed them milk
everything else was new to me. And daylight fades, as a spread of spilt milk
My small precious son, limp-heavy in my bed. The making of my blood
he is my pedantic heir. We fumbled for each other, yawn, arms wide as oak
My children will shine on, grown like acorns seeded by grand old oak
both sustaining and sucking their parent dry. A sapling grown on milk
dreams taller, lives longer, roots deeper. A shared dawn as red as blood
Birthed in blood, they fulfil their mother oak. Grew, thrived on milk and love.
© Ella Walsworth-Bell
both sets of our eyes mirror the baby I lost before you, bubblegum blue ice-cream you never did like, blue blurred line on a hurried pregnancy test, blue gloves hauled you out of my womb, giving you bruises that bloomed blue as agapanthus along the shoreline of your crib, blue glows in the dark like bitter caracao, thin blue line between success and fail and some days I fail no matter what I do.
blue your eyes when you wake and stare lovingly (which is rare), blue where my fingers grab at your thick toddler arms, blue telltale feather marking out a jay, blue is the need for air, blue like that bird in Rio flying high high higher, blue-bottomed monkeys howling your diagnoses, a blue smurf head frozen numb, all of them singing the blues.
wanting you to be more like the other children standing in a neat blue line at the school gates, blue is your ringbound files on my shelf, blue: a forbidden ink in the NHS, blue the people carrier when I wanted a bike, blue is used blood returning to source, you turn the air blue, poof! clouds of ink like a squid fearing death, blue can’t change, can’t change.
our eyes a matching pale blue twinset, the blue of dream-sea matching fanciful sky, antifouling our boat with that paint getting under my fingernails and up my nose we’re dreaming of the same distant horizon and you’re riding the waves and squealing with delight and indigo woad is slathered on my soul like hot dogs with sauce I don’t really like, but it’s perfect.
© Ella Walsworth-Bell