Tracey S. Rosenberg is an American who came to Scotland and never left. She’s the author of the historical novel The Girl in the Bunker (Cargo Publishing, 2011) and two poetry pamphlets: Lipstick is Always a Plus (Stewed Rhubarb Press, 2012) and The Naming of Cancer (Neon Books, 2014). In 2010 she was awarded a New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust. She’s Bookstalls Manager at the StAnza Poetry Festival and a tutor on the online MSc in Creative Writing at Edinburgh University.
She loves to travel – in the past few years she’s been to Malta, Canada, Sweden, Chile (including Easter Island), Morocco, Jordan, Belfast, Yorkshire, London, Suffolk, India, and the USA – and to do interesting things, such as performing in the closing ceremonies of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. She won the 2014 Luminate Slam, after two and a half years of not winning any slams, and she currently keeps the Shore Poets website tidy.
I pray throughout the evening. With perfect stitches
I mend your cloak, closing the rents in its frayed shoulders
with silver thread. I cooked this soup with such care;
now I pour it, spiced and hot, into your flask.
Everything you need must fit in your bag. It is easy to pray
when my hands are full of missals, herbs, sandals.
I listen for splashings as you wash and dress.
Here are your sturdy boots; I waxed them again
to protect your feet against the endless rain.
When you enter the hall, I am seated beside your bag,
biting off a final thread. My heart laughs
at your boyish wet hair. You are brisk but not unkind.
As you shrug into your cloak
without waiting for my hands to help,
you announce that so much work awaits you in the world.
Thousands of souls are plunging into joyful damnation.
The poor misguideds reject the divine,
too busy with the work of this world
and its heretical passions, their beastly souls
blazing with secondary heat!
Striding towards the door
you give your final orders
for the coming months.
Your cloak twists, caught up in itself.
I am reaching out, praying, lips tight.
As you cross the threshold,
I lean forward under the frozen stars
and pull your cloak straight.
Within my hands, the silver threads hold fast.
Published in Gutter, issue 10