Tokens from the Foundling Hospital, 18th c., London – by Susan Moorhead

A pot of rouge, lid intact
a black thimble,
a playing card, Ace of Diamonds,
a ticket to a philosophy lecture,
a pink silk purse.

Leave us a token, an indentifier, so when
you return to claim your child, we will know
it’s yours.

A pass to the private King’s Road,
a shilling, 1756, one side rubbed smooth,
a small carved white fish,
a letter from prison,
an engraved name, “James”, on a piece
of mother-of-pearl.

We may change the baby’s name, or give
it to an interested party, but if you can tell
us what you left, we will know the child is yours.

A sixpence,
A spyglass for the theatre,
a walnut,
a disc taken off a bottle of ale,
a heart cut from red woolen cloth
pinned to a blue silk ribbon.

When I think of you I have to stop everything
I am doing, all movement, my ability to swallow,
my ability to breathe. I must call on my heart
to start beating once more despite the fact
it lives somewhere else.

Susan MoorheadFor years Susan Moorhead believed owls could not see the color blue having read it somewhere. However, that is a myth. Research can reward but also shrug off some magic dust. She writes poetry and stories in New York state in the USA.