Last May, the warm welcomed them,
as it will always do, the starving ghosts
we could not feed.
Some we knew, and mourned,
the children offered them morsels,
but their appetites were fathomless.
Black beans adhered to my rinsed palms,
I cast them severally as I had always done,
a lifetime of Spring reckonings.
I looked away from their ravenous eyes,
but beckoning them to follow,
nine times I tried to redeem us all.
They picked up the beans -
I heard a tooth crack just behind me,
as I led them out into the darkness.
A light smattering of rain muddied
the protective sooty thumbprint
on my forehead.
They filed past, I asked them to leave me,
and they left me.
Today I died of everyday things.
When I left the winter hearth,
and opened up to the beyond, outside,
the ice door of the world slammed back –
I pressed my spotless thumb into my brow,
I heard a shuffling in the night,
and the hunger weighed within me
like a stone.
Former university teacher, has lived in Cumbria for 34 years. Since retirement, spends half the year in the mountains of the Axarquia, southern Spain. Enjoys walking, writing, drawing and photography, often in combination.