STARPOems: Foundling 453

A boy admitted 7th October 1748


When she dropped him

at the hospital


she tied a yellow ribbon

around his tiny wrist


with –

My name is Andrews


written in dark blue ink;

every letter an effort,


as if spelling out kinship

was more precious on cloth.


The strip, perhaps torn

from her special Sunday dress,


or a treasured fairing given

by her sweetheart,


was interleaved between

the pages of a large ledger…


Then they took him,

bathed him, swathed him


in uniform grey –

gave him a number –


and took his name away.


Denise Bennett