Photo of a GI Bride in a Ruined Cottage
She lifts her sepia eyelids,
shaded by a brown cloche bonnet.
She looks out, her gaze parallel to his.
Him, parade-smart airman
face pale, clean shaven.
He dreams their marriage to life,
promises her a Mid-West homestead
built with his own hands.
A place to forge their family life.
On the cracked mantelpiece,
flimsy blue airmails stacked
spliced open. Precarious piles propped
against stains on the damp wall.
Enveloped words hidden,
smudged free of meaning.
The fireplace she laid, stays cold.
After many ruined years
her hollow prayers sorrowed on unheard,
Her faith in him wobbled
like loose incisors in inflamed gums.
Love decayed, flared red then black,
and followed the leaded range to rot.
Our love settled
into alarming patterns –
smoked signals of acrid truths.
Choked, I was right
to extinguish our furze fire,
before we self-combusted.
By Ceinwen Haydon