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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,

you balance

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.

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