Longlisted for the Write about Walking A/way competition 2023
Anna’s in the ashes, mad as leaves, harvests her tears and watches him grind them for his bread, you’re mad he said. And true enough the look in her eyes is wild and hunted, her baby cries, her hair’s a mess, her arse is fat, she smokes too much, and shakes and sighs, it’s too much he says to live with that. Poor old farmer to live with that. Leaves crack against the window, and he rattles out the charges, you left the fire unlit, and didn’t clear the ashes. So with ash in her hair she forgives his trespasses, but wanders on his dreams like a hungry fox, leaving many snowy footprints.
The empty fields trail away to nothing, and more snow on the way will cover any trace, where she’s running to keep up with the songs of her babies, and the knock of her heart, and the knowledgeable wind that rips her face.
The snow turns to sleet and the mark of her feet comes round in a circle to the same old place, where he waits with his shotgun. So is it better to be mad or dead? Or to walk with her babies out into the night? You’ll die he said of cold, and raving snowstorms. But her eyes and the night are hard and bright.
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