Creative Writing

Big/Little (Poem)

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I don’t pray anymore
except for when I do—
and when I do, I pray for you.

Not on my knees
with head bowed and hands clasped,
no our fathers or false promises.

I pray for you
with two pence pieces
turned over and over
between thumb and forefinger
and flung into fountain wells;
with cracks in the pavement
avoided underfoot
and counted steps at bedtime;
with childish superstition
I refuse to outgrow for your sake.

I don’t pray anymore
except for when I do—
and when I do, I pray for you.

I pray you’ll grow up a diamond
so when the world
comes to your doorstep
with cutting tools in hand,
you’ll shine brighter
just to spite them.

The Safe House

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[ Bit of context: I’ve been working on a longer-term writing project over the last few months, and in a bid to expand that particular universe and keep the muse going I’ve written a few bits of flash fiction focusing on the minor characters. This is the first of them. ]

newton houseIn the house on the end of Newton Avenue, a community of wanderers and left-behinds arose practically overnight. Families formed wherever there was space: blood pacts and brotherhoods, sisters and mothers and cousins.

Miss Terezhkova sat on a battered sofa surrounded by the littluns, who within just a few hours had taken to calling her “Ma”; she sang a lilting nursery rhyme in her mother’s native language, idly bouncing the youngest of them on one knee. The toddler cooed and grinned toothlessly, pulling at her necklace with pudgy fingers. In the far corner the Novak twins (only just clear of their teenage years, all bruised cheekbones and male bravado) sat watching Mr Perkowski’s weather-beaten hands as he whittled a crude model of a wolf out of the remains of a broken chair leg.

Nina and Yara were already walking everywhere arm in arm and calling each other “sister”– and for all anyone under that roof knew, they might have been. The fact that the two of them had been total strangers only the previous day, huddled together behind a crate at the Hainsley docks and hardly daring to breathe lest they be caught, was unthinkable to anyone.

It seemed the stars had aligned to bring them all together to their own crowded little corner of the universe, and they gravitated towards each other, comfortable – for now – in their orbit.