We hold hands on the long walk home,
you full of learning, eager for the world,
questions bubbling, rising breath.
Pausing by the kerb, you point at
berries, brushed by, ruby red.
‘Are those OK to eat?’, you ask.
I tell you what I know, crude,
not confident, the unexpected
epiphany of my ignorance, the struggle
and the stutter in thick-rayed sun,
a warning barely enough:
‘avoid them all, just to be safe’…
You smile and you believe, cupped
and radiant in the hands of your all-knowing god.
And I wonder what else I might not know;
mysteries, the glow of orange in your mind,
heat creeps out, those hands
dipped in cotton wool, a majesty of clouds.
You’ll re-appear, somewhere in time,
no more a child scraping her heel
against the kerb, but ripe, grown,
now fully vulnerable. And in that moment,
yes, there, right there,
you’ll need a far better answer.
Marcello Giovanelli lives in Leicestershire and teaches English at Aston University in Birmingham. He has published widely on the language of poetry. His own verse has appeared in online anthologies and in privately-printed collections.