As a child I lived with the voice
of someone other than myself
embedded in the nerves of my thalamus.
At first I thought it must be soul
answering to mind. (No one could tell me
where it lived inside my anatomy
though I asked and asked.) Together
they’d be singing as if I wasn’t there
my limbic life flowing on beneath them
while they teased out issues from all
dredged up things I hadn’t thought of,
the two seahorses of the hippocampi
reminding me of who said what to who.
I grew convinced my absent mother
spoke to me this way by day, freed up
by language I was learning
to decipher from neurons reacting
and responding like bats to echoes in the cortex.
At night she came through the door
of dreams to the cistern of my skull
as something inside tiptoed along the spine
between my life, her death.
Rebecca Gethin has written 5 poetry publications and has been a Hawthornden Fellow and a Poetry School tutor. Messages was a winner in the first Coast to Coast to Coast pamphlet competition. Vanishings from Palewell Press and Fathom from Marble are forthcoming in 2020.