family

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.

Day Twenty-Nine – “Ignition” (In For A Penny)

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She was an exceptionally quiet child. Barely talked, barely played with other girls her age, and I don’t think I ever heard her laugh once– we tried all sorts to coax her out of her shell but nothing seemed to work.

Then it happened completely out of the blue; Guy Fawkes night, the whole family in the back yard lighting sparklers as the last embers of a catherine wheel fizzled and died out in the damp grass. I handed one to her, and watched as her face split into a wide grin, a wild, whooping laugh bubbling past her lips.

For more information on “In For A Penny”, or for further entries, click here.

Day Twenty-Seven – “Damage Control” (In For A Penny)

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She used to sit him up on the kitchen counter when he came home from school, inspect the day’s damage. She’d murmur encouraging little nothings, dab at his tears with scraps of kitchen roll, and then there was always a kiss to his cheek as she pressed a small skin-tone plaster over each cut, patching up an ego torn to shreds by the older boys.

When her messy divorce left them with nothing but each other and a dingy one-bedroom flat, he sat with her on the sofa and pressed his hand over her broken heart to hold her together.

To find out more about “In For A Penny”, or for further entries, click here.

Day Twenty-Three – “Decaf” (In For A Penny)

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She was always up and out at the crack of dawn, so she left him morning greetings on post-its on the kitchen cupboard; he’d find them when he went to get his morning coffee.

Try not to strangle Jeff. x

Sorry I shouted last night. x

I love you. x

They were comforting, familiar – especially these days, with the endless failed attempts to start a family hanging over their heads. She never failed to remind him that he was lucky to have her.

This morning’s entry was stuck to the empty coffee jar and read:

Decaf only for the next nine months. x

To find out more about “In For A Penny”, or for further entries, click here.

Day Nine – “The Reunion” (In For A Penny)

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The family reunion had started out relatively well. Sarah had had such high hopes for this year as the hall filled up with assorted family members in black tie – with the exception of Roger, who’d gone for a spangly blue number stolen from his sister’s closet.

He was joined later on by Great Uncle Cecil who, having reached his customary state of inebriation in record time, had escaped the confines of the suit his wife had stuffed him into and was currently hiding naked under a table clutching a half-empty bottle of Talisker.

Sarah sighed– there was always next year.

For more information on “In For A Penny”, or for further entries, click here.

Day Four – “Workman’s Hands” (In For A Penny)

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Elsie was always the last to fall asleep.

She would put the kids to bed and then clamber in next to Harry, waiting until she was sure he’d dropped off before she took one of his large hands and turned it over and over in both of hers. She’d skate the rough, tanned terrain of his palm, following each little line and crease with the tips of her fingers.

They were calloused, stubby – workman’s hands – but to her they were beautiful, each scrape and blister a memento of the hard work he put in day after day at the mill.

For more information on “In For A Penny”, or for further entries, click here.