Let Them Go: Ninth Calmacott

Celtic daughter in sheepskin with knotted silver clasp

 

Let Them Go

 

“How does your mother do?”

Henry’s mind’s eye flashes him a slender shaft

Of sun, a halo of blue sky, some other sense raises

With a vividness that flicks him on the raw

A smell of pipe tobacco and horse stall

Old Atkins, retired from the force, still calls

“Of course, I can’t be easy, altogether…Barnstow’s story

Was at the time, hardly satisfactory.”

Why this?

Why smoke and autumn leaves

Numb toes inside his sodden boots and the touch

Of his brother’s hand?

“It’s no use hanging on to things, is it?”

“No, Michael…no, it’s not. You ask…how’s our mum? She’s well.

I’ll tell her you’re the same.”

Henry lifts his head, so wrenched at length

He wipes his face dry with a vulgar sleeve

The guest, in willful ignorance

Watches only the host

Who, using a paper knife, is prying marbles free

“I have a steel-head mallet.” This, he lifts to show.

“Will you do the honours,

Henry Calmacott?”

Shuffling to the fire he sees…here are three—

Gaily coloured, red and blue

One yellow

Lodged in crevices of stone, before the hearth

“And if I smash them, sir, that ends their prisonment on earth?”

 

The Regent’s Bastard’s Grandson: First Wake

 

Calmacott’s Brother: First Calmacott

 

(copyright 2017 Stephanie Foster)

 

 

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