“And” by Isobel Dixon

deathbed ram
Image by Dawn Estrin

And I was thinking in the breaking dawn,
my fingers on my father’s precious skin:
so this is what a death is like.

And not just any death, I see that now: the good death
of a good man. How it takes a lifetime
to prepare for such a death.
And a lifetime after for the rest of us, recovering.
Trying not to botch what’s left us of our own.



Isobel Dixon grew up in South Africa, where her prize-winning debut Weather Eye was published. Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Financial Times, The Guardian, The Manhattan Review, Southwest Review, Magma, Succour and Wasafiri, among others. She has been commissioned to write poems for the British Film Institute, and her work is included in several anthologies, including Penguin’s Poems for Love and The Forward Book of Poetry 2009. Her latest collection A Fold in the Map is published by Salt. Her next collection, The Tempest Prognosticator, comes out from Salt next year. www.isobeldixon.com And is taken from A Fold in the Map, ©2007, (UK: Salt; SA: Jacana), Reprinted with permission.