Christmas Day


Christmas Day


The fire went out hours ago.

The clock is coughing on the mantelpiece.

It’s getting really late and

Sindy’s face has changed shape

on the hearth. She looks plain evil,

like she’s puffed out her cheeks and cringed

when Mum and Dad started to bicker

after our fish and chips supper and she never changed back.


I lobbed Leo’s lego into the garden when he started crying.

He’s playing dead, slumped over the broken stereo.

I cry quietly so he can’t tell. Tears curdle under my nose.


I took the last bit of sugar for my tea, fed the cat his last sachet.


I want Leo to play soldiers in the garden, in the rain, socks off,

because it sounded like Dad’s spades had all come off the walls,

and the lights have gone out, but the door is still closed, maybe locked.

I want Leo out there to check and see. Not me. They’ll bray me.


It’s getting cold and I feel like I’m snuggled up to barb wire.

I should go out and bang on the shed window,

but my eyes are frozen and I’m not sure, that if I go out there,

they’ll still be human.