A Family Reduced
by Ian C Smith

Retching over soiled nappies, only three days, borrowing money, a casket small enough to be gripped in one man’s large hands, no headstone, just debt weighing on grief. Did you bear this news in person, waiting for the bus with your other child, weather churning about you like fear, a family reduced and almost overwhelmed by the journey? Or did you write, pen pointing at notepaper, searching for words, striving for dignity despite such pain squatting in your heart for good, then walking to the postbox, the black slot, letting go, unrealised hopes falling into the remote dark? You would have mentioned nothing about the cot, the boy’s father finally lowering his trembling axe amidst splinters, shrieking silence, the wildly spinning mobiles, stilled.

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