Broken Memories


Narrow unvarnished floorboards,
door toffeed with brown paint,
brass handled, heavy and permanent;
echoing with emptiness.
No baggage,
no other family or friends,
no tears, no sad goodbyes.

When the train came
they must have climbed aboard,
my half-sister and her family,
and waved to us:
I only remember the engine
thundering under the bridge
the sudden burst of smoke and steam,
the hint of barrenness ahead.

Perhaps my mother’s anger started there,
one more abandonment
triggering the menopausal rage
that changed her from a gentle Mum
into a mad and ranting beast.
Two fathers of her children gone,
and now her elder daughter
and grandchildren too,
shunted to some distant dock
to be floated away 12,000 miles
to an unknown Land.

For them adventures yet to come,
for her,
family fading forever
down the shining tracks.


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