Poetry: Babes in the Wood by Maeve Henry
Image via USFWS
‘Babes in the Wood’ was commended in the 2018 Wasafiri New Writing Prize ‘Poetry’ category.
Babes in the Wood
They have almost forgotten their own names,
brother clutching sister’s hand. Birds devoured
their trail of crumbs. There’s no way back
through open borders, barbed wire, muddy
fields, roads, sand, the sea. They wake to rain
dripping off the trees, exchange night’s gifts:
she slept in Rima’s flat in Mosul, he tasted kebabs
in Konak Square, when they sold cigarettes
and ran if the police came. Things lost on the journey:
passports, her shoes, the grown-ups. When the wood
stops they will be at Calais. It’s a dream their mother
had. England. It tingles on the tongue like gingerbread.
Maeve Henry was born in Dublin and grew up in the north east of England. She now lives and works in Oxford, and writes both poetry and fiction. Her poetry has been published by Mslexia, Ink, Sweat and Tears, and Live Canon, among others. More of her work can be read on her website, maevehenry.com.