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1st Prize Amnesty International Human Rights, 2005

in anthology Images of Women, 2006, Arrowhead Press

in association with Second Light Network





Not of my own choosing

do my paps darken like muzzles.

My belly slowly swells.

I cannot see my valley now.

I crave for lassi

but they bring us rusty water

in the bottom of a can.


They come and come,

day, night, day,


as the door slaps against the stucco.

They leave our thighs and faces

crusty with their stink.


And after me,

they hump across on to my mother,

covering her shrunken face

with her heavy dirndl skirt.

She is dry, dry.

Her womb is a husk.


Each day I am ripening.

I do not want this cuckoo

fluttering its rabid wings

in my darkness.

I can see its wild eyes beneath my skin.

It will suck me dry as rock.


Yet, I have practised its birth—

how I will keep my legs far apart,

my eyes screwed shut,

then roll it with my heel in the dust

kicking it and its afterbirth

down the mountainside.


Or, how I will say, Give me my baby,

and boy or girl, call it Katya.

That was my mother’s name.


Pat Borthwick


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poetry favourites:
Inc Writers

and in the shop ...
collections - "Between Clouds And Caves", Littlewood Arc;
"Swim", Mudfog

featured in anthologies:
"The Poetry Cure", Bloodaxe;

"Images of Women", Arrowhead Press in assoc with Second Light Network;

"Stranger", Poetry on the Lake / Wyvern Works

"In Deep Waters";
"Monkey Puzzles"
"Hospital Corners", Pharo

Other publications:
"Chalk Marks";
CD:  "RealEstate"

© of all poems featured on this site remains with the poet
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