Saturday, October 13, 2007


His childhood died in a nightmare.
He was in the front garden
of a country cottage
like a cottage in a story;
his father was there too, digging:
everything was perfect.
Then the child looked across the fields
to the small hills, like hills
out of a children's book,
and a mushroom cloud loomed up
from behind the small hills,
sombre and monstrous,
as colossal as a mountain.

The child knew the world was dead.
A cloud of grief and despair
unfolded in him.
His father noticed nothing
and kept on digging through the death.
The child woke up but it was true:
the cloud was there, the world was dead.

He still wants to return.
Once I saw him look in winter
over the city's snow capped roofs
and past the icy suburbs
and across the white fields
to the hills behind the city,
and I saw him shake his head
and flick his cigarette
into the slushy street,
where it hissed and died.

Published, 1999, in Snakeskin, October issue

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