The Astronaut’s Return

She looks familiar; yes, she is my wife.
Her hair is longer; it’s been months.
I don’t think she expected to see me again.
She doesn’t talk as much as I remember
and when she does she’s speaking to a child.

I notice how her body moves beneath her clothes
and when she’s naked, in the bath or in bed;
how independent it is, in spite of her.
When she sees me looking she turns away.
When I touch her skin she flinches.

The clothes she says are mine no longer fit.
Eat, she says, please eat, and I love you.
I soothe her as best I can. I tell her that
I’m learning to come back.  But my eyes,
still wide open, sparkle like topaz when I sleep.

by Gregory Leadbetter

Gregory Leadbetter was born in Stourbridge in 1975. He practised as an environmental lawyer for several years before transferring his main interests to writing. Since then he has written for the BBC radio drama series Silver Street, and his poems have been published widely. He is currently completing a PhD on Samuel Taylor Coleridge. A pamphlet of his poems, The Body in the Well, is published with HappenStance Press.

Heaventree New Poets, now in its fourth volume, is a series collecting the best new poetry. The collections aspire to Heaventree’s philosophy of providing high quality new modern literature at a relatively low cost. Volume 4 featured Gregory Leadbetter alongside Patrick Gilmore and Jonathan Morley, three poets noted for their bold content and technical precision. To purchase a copy of Heaventree Poets, Volume 4 please visit the Heaventree Press website.