‘Lights’, Kim Whysall-Hammond

Illustration © 2019 Toeken

 [ Lights, © 2019, Toeken ] Moonlight feathers treetops
reveals hill slopes, shadows gullies
sketches out my beautiful moors
Where lone headlights angle skywards
twist along the high road.
I watch at the window on this cold night
as the car winds along towards us
(to whoever may
or may not be listening)
that traitor Moon
will not glint on my rifle barrel.

Gripping the gun with amateur’s nerves,
I reach for Eva’s hand
and we hold our breath while
a child cries fitfully
from another room
We all have broken sleep in these remaining days
nightmares of the plague
that took so many
leaving the mad, bad
and us, the desperate.
We eke out, stand watch, wait.
For what? For a quiet death perhaps.
But in the day we want very much to live
so we tend straggling sheep, shoot rabbit,
go on.

Fear clutches my gut as the car turns past empty houses
and down along our valley road,
a form of relief washes us as it continues on
following the river to richer pickings in the southern towns.
I move my baby to feed at my other breast
and mourn the futures stolen from her,
the violence awaiting.

© 2019 Kim Whysall-Hammond

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