Near Louth, 1990 – M J Franklin

Alone, the cottage sits, abandoned
on nature’s sand red carpet
framed by sentinel cypress pines;
gap-toothed, rust-mapped roof panels
flap screeching nails on tin
half-shading three small rooms
of memories held in place
by spiders’ webs and peeling paint;
years of dust and windblown dirt
accumulate in corners full
of children’s whispered games;
heavy door closed against the
lonely screams of childbirth’s pain;
piano’s dislocated keys release
discordant echoes of hymns
sung loud on Sunday mornings;
spotted mirror left in place
reflects hardship’s greying hair;
curtain tatters once sewn by hopeful hands
frame broken windows
looking out on rusted tanks
looking in on wire beds
and holed out kitchen pots;
embedded silence
calls out loud
that only history lives here now.