Bags of Bones

Intro: up to 50 words (delete this text and enter your own)

I saw an old couple – skin and bones – crossing cobbles

Bags of bones in tallow skin.
Balding heads – hers kerchief-wrapped
Hiding chemo ravaging.
The wheelchair rattles over cobbles
Spilling earth from the hardy annuals
Perched on her precarious lap.
She grumbles, “Mind that lorry!”
He chuckles, “I ain’t blind yet, Mother.”
But his cataract op. is long overdue.
“Careful up the kerb!
You’re spilling me morning glories.
You’ll be the death of me.”
“Remember we climbed the Three Peaks?
The year before we had our Jack.”
“Jack? What happened to him?”
“You said the hills looked blue steel grey.”
“I remember those hills… blue, steel, grey.”
“You said you’d go back and paint them… one day.”
“I never did. What hills were they?”
“No, mother… you never did… we had our Jack.”
“Did I not? Jack? Who’s this Jack? Don’t know any Jacks.”
“He went away… long time ago… don’t trouble yourself.”
A tear welled and trickled the corrugated gutter of skin
that drooped from cheek to dimpled chin.
“Jack! So smart in his uniform. Will he be back soon?”
The old man stops, wipes his eyes.
“Any day now, Mother. Any day…”

© coolhermit 2023
Views: 1491
critique and comments welcome.
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heartbreaking just as much as it should be.


I agree this version is much improved.I remember reading the first version.Well done, it deserves the nib. Be lucky, Pommer.

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