Low-slung, hunched the houses hug
the other side of the tracks.
She’d been warned not to go but
the Ministry of Education decreed that all
ten-year-olds must be in full-time education so
when he didn’t show up for the third week to her class
when she saw that no one else noticed or cared
when the emergency phone number produced no results
she put on her rubber boots and braved
the mud across the divide.
It took many nervous side-looks and stumbles
to find the house.
There was no one wandering about, a midday
stillness of any commuter town
except it was dusk.
Herbs in pots, geraniums winked red and white,
all in earthenware, nothing rooted to the ground
in fear of rapid decampment.
A woman worn transparent and thin
was taking down the washing from the clothesline.
She startled when the teacher spoke her son’s name.
She shrugged when asked why –
no shrug of indifference this, no convincing cool.
She was too young to be adept
at arguing the merits of the Roma ways.
She missed her boy and did not want
him to beg on alien streets.
She never saw any of the money sent home anyway.
She spoke and spoke
and the teacher could not begin to comprehend
why she was so disloyal to her tribe
and wondered if she would have done the same
to someone who thought of her child
as something else
than danger and scum.
I’m linking this attempt at narrative poetry (based on a real-life situation) with the Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub. Join us there for some poetic fun and a wide range of styles and topics!