Updated: Mar 22, 2022
Have you ever carried a tired child to bed?
Her head rests heavy on your shoulder.
Careful not to wake her,
like a bad ballerina
to toe back the covers
and lower her gently down.
Have you ever carried a screaming child home?
It’s all gone wrong.
She’s thrashing on the frosty tarmac
between the Post Office and the Co-Op.
You scoop her up,
which is a feat ,
and hold her wriggling weight
as the shopping slips
and one egg breaks.
You fail to soothe her
with her favourite songs.
Her screaming is resolve-breaking.
Her face is fury red.
You swap her from hip to hip,
suggest a piggyback,
almost give up.
But, key in lock, you make it.
No-one will hear your shaky breath
or see your tear smeared face
as you fumble to put on Peppa Pig.
Have you ever carried a frightened child across a border?
Seven families do not know but can imagine
the horrors they can’t stop from happening.
They can’t help with the stone in her stomach
or the ache in her heart
but they can help with the weight in her arms.
On a station platform,
seven empty buggies stand.