CWI May 2020 Winner

Hidden

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

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