Jordan Stead returns to our digital pages with a brand new poem with intimate boundaries and epic proportions. ‘Antigone’ evokes the image of the mythic gravedigger to play with ideas of symbolic death and tragedy but, through a juxtaposition of images, Stead creates a bleak space which is fringed with intimations of possibility. 

Here I am, 

that famed gravekeeper.

From the soil I closed 

A body,

The sameness felt from the womb. 

Divided into two. Half.

Tragedy fell on the arms

Of a woman; Thebes held

In two paper palms, thin as drum skin.

Ours was crushed by the bootheel.

I stir and wake

To find that body held

By silt –

Hanging on the bed sheet.

Pull them back and see

The stains cling wet to cloth,

doused in morning’s burial shroud.

What do the Fates stir

For me? I see the lines.

A split thing too shining

To die;

What I bury is a madness of my own.