No way back by Rayya Ghul

No way back

I am grey like the doves
which peck at the last crumbs
left by sightless wanderers.
The roadside shrine offers

little succour for my thirst
and yet the sunshine cheers
my spirit, glistening like
the inside of an oyster

iridescent with layers of
mother-of-pearl. The child
sits quietly by my side
and waits while I make offerings.

A shell from a beach I visited
with a long-gone lover
A coin with the face of a queen
I no longer remember.

There is no incense left
so a flower will have to do.
They grow wild, sweet-scented
like lost dreams. I pause

and pick up the shell. Not yet.
I am not ready to part with
the memory of his touch.
The road will take us far enough

away for it to fade. I smile
and hold out my hand.
The child takes it and meets
my eye. He knows the future

is uncertain but that it is safer
with me by his side. Suddenly
I free my hair from its braid.
The wind catches it and it waves.

 

Rayya Ghul lives near Folkestone and writes and performs with a group of feminist poets.  She was a member of Jo Bell’s 52 group and has been published in The Stare’s Nest and I am not a Silent Poet.

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