a stub in the night

Drawn from the depths of sleep
by a plaintive call,
an anxious “mum, mum!” –
the eldest, tall as me,
almost a teenager –
“Mum, I’m bleeding”.

I stumble down the stairs,
imagining pools of blood
and spurting arteries.

And he shows me his toe –
stubbed on a skirting board.

We look at each other,
and we both know
what this is about:
bags packed to leave in a hurry,
smoke in the air,
firemaps and wind changes.

“Come on then” I whisper,
“put your foot up here”.
I wipe the toe, dab it with Dettol –
the full ritual cleansing.
Sheepishly, he hands me a bandaid.

I put it on and lean forward
to kiss the toe better –
but pull back from the horrific smell.
“Your feet stink!”
“yeah, I know”
he grins at me,
then saunters back to bed.

“Little bugger” I mutter.
But I am glad of an emergency
that I can make better.

I’ve posted very few of the poems I wrote during the  last fire season, partly because I only started blogging part-way through it, but I think largely because it was too raw at the time. But I just read Chocoviv’s post here and it almost brought me to tears – a combination of gratitude that people we didn’t know were thinking of us (Australians) and remembering how stressful that time was – especially for my kids. Thank you.   


Filed under poem

5 responses to “a stub in the night

  1. This is really sweet and heartwarming.

  2. A raw slice of life – so much conveyed in a simple event. Well written.

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