She was supposed to be the first of many

she was supposed to herald laughter

joyous, soaring laughter, she was supposed to


she arrived as she remained

still, and silent, and

the cause of silence


first came a dam-burst of shock that threatened to

carry them, shrieking, away

then came numbness that allowed them to sit

through whole days of nothing

and then, in a heart shattering sigh, came resignation


time passed in secret and she grew


she lay on her bed, staring straight up

blinking occasionally and breathing always

breathing in, and breathing out


she never felt her breath quicken

dodging sea shells as she ran to the water’s edge

she never held her breath during hide and seek

never shyly looked downward, breathless, after her first kiss

she breathed in, she breathed out


her mother sung to her as sweetly as she could

her father held her hand each night as he read to her

she was bathed, fed and cared for and, having never lived,

she died aged thirty-five

leaving a home, somehow more silent than before


her empty bed was too much for them

they rarely entered her room and it was only then

did they realise that it was love

their broken girl had brought them love


a holiday was advised and so they found themselves

in New York, looking upward

“Do you think she would have liked this?”

“I think she would have loved it.”



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