The Children

All her children are dead children
but some still follow her
like thin shadows
clutching at her aching legs
as she walks along the back streets

small, faded sweaters
patched jeans
tattered dresses

she has seen the pretty ones on the main street
heard them laughing with one another
hanging onto their mothers’ gentle hands

she always walks along the back streets
the dark garbage-sidewalk streets
trailing to sales, second hand stores
then home

up the dirty grey staircase
up, up to the small sunless rooms

and sometimes late into the night
the many skeletons cluttered together in bed
she stares from the window at the flashing night street
and remembers the other, the now cold children
sleeping in the ground.

~ Melodie Corrigall

Originally published in: West Coast Review