Kelsall. 1856.

entry picture


From the doorway
Rosanna silently watches her daughter.
Ellen is slowly combing her dark hair,  
the September sun just rising into a chill morning,
a small window softening her face
with brushstrokes of perfection,
the chair creaking a floorboard, already old.

The corners of the room
are still in shadow
a white sheet flung sideways at dawn
her sister curled in half the bed
refusing to wake
with Rosanna saying, what a day this is,
and Michael
up early, to the smithy on the coach road.

In Chester,
William views his uniform again
peering at the creases
glances at his boots once more
assessing the polish
combing his hair back
thinking about the time
then sitting on the bed, relaxed,
his sword in shadow, against the wall.

And now deep inside
the sound of guns abated,
shouts muffled.
There is a path for two ahead
where he’d always walked alone
and the tents, and the barracks,
which need to become a home,
so here a wife would be a-waiting
his past, almost gone.

She rode from Kelsall, clattering and rocking
brothers and sisters filling the flat boards.
He rode from Chester, comrades laughing and joking
another soldier to be slowing.

And he turned in the dark Tarvin church
at her arrival, the aisle so quiet
she seemed to silently come to his side,
such a smile beneath the veil.




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