WHEN I FIRST HELD YOU

Sheila Jacob's short poem addresses the difficult birth of her first child and the complex relationship that followed. Illustration by Leib Chigrin.

Your drowsy eyes were ringed by bruises
matching those where two doctors
and Kielland’s forceps prised us
apart, our struggle for separate worlds
so ferociously induced
we spent half a lifetime
plaiting a slippery bloodstained rope
to haul each other back.



'When I first held you' is part of a small series of adventure-themed poems published in support of our 15th issue, The Adventure Issue, which is available to buy here.