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Chloe Yates: a poem

River Child

An inky blue night, Grandmother

moon is full and bright, the small

girl sways and the river

rages. Little doll clutched tight,

a call to come home,

so back she runs through the green

forest floor, and through the green

forest floor runs the doll her mother

gave her. Back they go, home

to an empty house. Small

shadows as company, little doll

sings the lullaby of the river.

Sunrise, the small girl runs down to the river

to see if the anger has passed. Green

leaves float happily downstream but little doll

whispers the water still rages. Grandmother moon

shrinks with age and the small

girl peers into the water. The only home

she knows is grief, and so home

she walks into the open arms of the river.

The leaf sinks and the water sings and the small

song carries her downstream through greens

and blues. The water's kiss, a mother's

embrace, no anger at all. A girl and her doll

dance through the water, a doll

and her girl dance their way home.

They swim down, and down, to where Mother

sings from the bottom of the river,

hair wild and free, belly green

and soft. She smiles at herself:

no longer small but tall

and grown. She bows to the doll,

button-eyed guide, weaves fresh green

weeds into a braid: a gift for the long journey home.

The doll takes it with pride as the river

child sleeps on the breast of her mother.

Chloe is a 21-year-old poet and playwright from London. She has had plays produced at the OSO Arts Centre, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Theatre 503, Chiswick Playhouse and Theatre Deli. She has performed her poetry at The Poetry Café and RichMix. When not writing she works as a yoga teacher.


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