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October 2014, vol 10 no 3

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Gail Hennessy

Memento


My uncle, barely twenty, fought and died at Villers-Bretonneux in 1918. He gave my mother the secret of his enlistment and asked her not to tell their mother. At six she hatched a plan to stop him leaving. She stole the soap from his kitbag and hid it under the veranda steps, believing, that without that essential piece of equipment he would not be able to go to war. For wasn't 'cleanliness next to godliness'?

After my mother died I found one photograph from her childhood. From that sepia print her brother, wearing, at a slant, the slouch hat of the Australian Imperial Forces, gazes: serious, serene.

A child's wish
strong enough
to lasso the moon




crane