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The scattered kids of rural Kent

hop from foot to foot down lanes:

hanging heads over bridges

to throw Pooh sticks into babbling brooks.

A mayor drives to a Polish border town

with bags of teddy bears.

The afternoon sun is soft

against the rainbow ribbons

of her homemade princess dress.

Pink unicorn pyjamas turn a violent rose red.

A shop-bought Hermione clutches a catkin wand

and watches shadows stop

at the edge of apple orchards.

Polina, a pink-haired school girl, flees Kyiv

in a black leather jacket and a Harry Potter top.

Mirabelle’s tears are dried

on toilet paper:

grit picked from her graze

The mayor clears his throat over the airwaves

and broadcasts a message to the dads of Ukraine:

We will keep your children safe.

We will keep your children safe.

and magic sweets are promised

from the nearest petrol station.

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