For My Daughter, Later

In February I wrote ‘I have all I ever wanted’.
Now this jangling fear, this chasm.
And yet there are times,
walking in lazy bronzed light filtered so slow
and soft through trees, where my panic streams behind me
like ribbons, your voice
burbling gently in my ears, and I forget,
and am happy.
You wonder if it was always like that.
If girls still climbed trees and sang
on their way home between air raids.
If their mothers, weeding necessary vegetable plots
paused to feel cool, damp soil under their fingers,
and the green of growing things.
Somewhere in every civil war is a woman
watching the peach-gold of a sunset
from her back step; and just outside the window
where a child coughs with bloody lungs
in a silent, grieving room, a shopper pauses
to adjust an uncomfortable shoe,
smiles at a refracted rainbow on the brick
beneath her hand, and picks up her basket for home.
Rachel Jeffcoat
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