Sunday, 21 April 2013


In the week the War was over
she leaned over the hedgerow,
cracking gum in the rain.
Dad would be home any minute, she said—
loping through iron gates, drops
spitting on his brow like wet bullets, propped
on a bad leg, arms wide open.
Poppies licking his fingers.
Fields of red, so she said, as though
she were speaking of fairies—
whole meadows, masses
splashed in the wild, curtseying
in their little red skirts ‘til the grasses
spat out the crouching-men, smoked,
found peace in flowers.
Later, wood crosses
pushed from the earth like bones,
calcium gifts, the rise of an old friend's rib.
From a crying gate, she frowned
at the thought of him sailing to Britain—
the apple-bobbing hills of gold;
roar of a slaughterhouse gun.

The late sky cramped with thunder
and Mother died making tea.
A letter, curled white on the milk-jug.
Telegrams told of the rain.

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