The Sum of Mum

she begins to calculate:

that’s 3 times 9 months
that’s 3 times (approximately 30 days times 9)
which is really 3 sons times 270 days
equals 810 days of combined incubation
that’s 24 hours a day
equals 19,440 hours of combined incubation
but one came early
one month early
so minus one set of 30 days
equals 810 minus 30 equals
780 days times 24 hours a day equals
18,720 hours of combined incubation

when the sons floated in her universe
yolk eyes staring into membrane galaxy
flicking pulse and finger
nail into red-darkness
she breathed for all of them
always will because
everything adds up to four

by Selina Tusitala Marsh

The Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre warmly invites you to attend the opening of the exhibition Where We Begin to Look: Landscape and Poetry on Friday 11 October at 6.30pm in the Glass Tank, Abercrombie Building, Oxford Brookes University. Where We Begin to Look is a collaborative exhibition by the artist Zoe Benbow and the poet, Deryn Rees-Jones,and is presented by the Poetry Society and Small World Theatre, Ceredigion. The opening event will feature a discussion about the exhibition by Benbow and Rees-Jones,and readings by Rees-Jones and Sarah Corbett, whose work appears in the show. You can find out more on the Brookes website. If you would like to attend the opening, please reply to this message with your details. The exhibition runs until 5 November and is open to all.

‘The Sum of Mum’ is copyright © Selina Tusitala Marsh, 2012. It is reprinted by permission of Arc Publications from Fast Talking PI (Arc Publications, 2012).

Notes from Arc Publications:

Selina Tusitala Marsh is of Samoan, Tuvaluan, English, Scottish and French descent, and was the first Pacific Islander to graduate from The University of Auckland with a PhD in English, where she is now a lecturer. Fast Talking PI (pronounced pee-eye) reflects the poet’s focus on issues affecting Pacific communities in New Zealand, and indigenous peoples around the world including the challenges and triumphs of being afakasi (mixed race). You can read more about the collection from Arc’s pages (where you can read further selections from the book), and hear Selina read from it on Soundcloud.

Since it was founded in 1969, Arc Publications has adhered to its fundamental principles – to introduce the best of new talent to a UK readership, including voices from overseas that would otherwise remain unheard in this country, and to remain at the cutting edge of contemporary poetry. Arc also has a music imprint, Arc Music, for the publication of books about music and musicians. As well as its page on Facebook, you can find Arc on Twitter. Visit Arc’s website to join the publisher’s mailing list, and to find full details of all publications and writers. Arc offers a 10% discount on all books purchased from the website (except Collectors’ Corner titles). Postage and packing is free within the UK.

Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.