Carol Ann Duffy

Free Will

The country in her heart babbled a language
she couldn’t explain. When she had found the money
she paid them to take something away from her.
Whatever it was she did not permit it a name.

It was nothing yet she found herself grieving nothing.
Beyond reason her body mourned, though the mind
counseled like a doctor who had heard it all before.
When words insisted they were silenced with a cigarette.

Dreams were a nightmare. Things she did not like
to think about persisted in being thought.
They were in her blood, bobbing like flotsam;
as sleep retreated they were strewn across her face.

Once, when small, she sliced a worm in half,
gazing as it twinned beneath the knife.
What she parted would not die despite
the cut, remained inside her all her life.