CWI May 2020 Winner


Rachael Barnes-Powell


My father collects model trains


Engines, stations, trees – all miniaturised

populate his shed


His own personal paradise

over which he is god


Plastic bodies lie cold

Waiting for him to bring them to life


I was allowed to watch

as he worked in mausoleum-like silence


Sending engines hurtling along

metal heartlines

back to their homes to sleep


His own bed lay empty


My mother chose to ignore

the universe hidden in her garden


Preferring to spend time with the worms

making homes in the soil

of her chrysanthemums


Planting rose bushes before the shed

in the hope their seasonal bounty

would hide her permanent shame


I think I was the only visitor

to my father’s world

before moths moved in


Now the door is swollen

rain drips through the roof

But those trains wait for him


Itching to come back to life