Ruth Corkill is a Masters student in physics at Victoria University of Wellington. She studied poetry and fiction at The Iowa Writers Workshop Summer Graduate Program and has a Minor in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters. Her poems have recently appeared in New Welsh Review, The Moth, Natural Bridge, The Feminist Wire, Turbine, PoetryNZ, Hue and Cry, Poetry 24, The Listener, JAAM, Tuesday Poem, and Landfall.
When I turned 16 I realised that my boys would have been the ones
to lurch off singing to the beaches and the landing grounds
pressed awkwardly against the pebbles of the old world, staining
cobble stones with their weight.
When I heard about useless eaters I realized that I might have been taken
without ever making a snide remark or cockily refusing to hail.
My fractured body would have made me as worthless as all the others.
They might have taken me from the clinic.
I was telling you about my grandfather in North Africa
being shot through, captured and driven like a cattle beast across Europe.
I was laughing at his obsession with foot care and his casual racism
when you asked if he would mind this. You made a little gesture over
yourself. When your face twisted in pleasure that night I realised that you
George would have been torn away from me and strung up choking.
These shifts shouldn't have mattered.