Archaeological Poetry


I have a whisper and a cold circle for the girls I may not have
the boys I might not be disappointed in. 

When I was a small mouse with big teeth and
there was no future because time was barren,

my mother scorched everything with hard leather straps
her fingers too heavy to hold in the palm of my hands

so perhaps I will give you to the girls without parents.
The ones who stuck with the first dance and tried

while I’ve been chasing orbits fast around
these four walls that became a coffin of us.


He’s trying 
to teach me the
spell, the pattern that

makes the world
fixed for just a
moment. Our fingers
pull this shape through the air

triangles and
squares, and a nail 
knitting a cat’s cradle
across our sweeping knuckles.
He lends me the numbers – alchemy –

3, 4, 5
a symbol for
the ancient way the world

is laid out.
And now his hands
have drawn a map, here 
in the space where sky and earth

are a muddle;
a jagged tooth-smile 
upwards, our spell a polaroid 
of our grandchildren grinning into 
the sun. They have the measure of us.

About the contributor

Jodie is a Midlands-based poet and spoken word artist who is exploring archaeological writing as part of her PhD research with the University of Leicester. She has performed across the country including at Handmade Festival, Curve's Inside Out, and Nottingham Poetry Festival and came in second representing the East Midlands in Commonword's Superheroes of Slam 2017 national final in Manchester. Recent publications can be found in Welcome to Leicester: poems about the city and The New Luciad.

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