Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Click of the Box Brownie. In the photo I clutch Mum with one hand; my other holds a toy dog on wheels.
As if it were yesterday, I see Dad in his khaki uniform, shouldering his kit bag as he waves and turns the corner. Mum, back in the kitchen, dissolves in tears when she discovers his sugar ration lying on the table.
She's waving goodbye to us a short time later. We're on the train with hundreds of other children for evacuation to the Midlands for the duration of the bombing. In my hands a cardboard suitcase and gas mask . . .

out of the dark
the mournful sound
of a train whistle—
the smell of black smoke
permeates the carriage

the suddenness
of being alone
and no-one to care
a guard comforts me
with a sticky toffee

over a puddle
rainbowed with oil
I make a wish
to see mum again

by Patricia Prime
Auckland, New Zealand
first published in
Kokako 9, Sept. 2008

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