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July 2013, vol 9, no 2

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Dawn Bruce

Night Closes In

She doesn't like this emptiness, the silence.

'At least he isn't dead,' she says.

'It's only a check-up. I'm sure he didn't swallow any of the stuff,' soothes gran papa.

Big sister goes to bed, blanket over her head.

On the floor beside her sister's bed she arranges her blankets, lies down.

She can't stop thinking of her baby brother and mum in the hospital. Wide-eyed, barely breathing, she curls herself into a ball.

Gran papa lets his childhood nightmare rise up, remembers the void ...

first frost
and sharp stars above ...
the lone walk

He lifts her from the nest, wraps his arms about her, holds her close.

She nestles into his chest, smells the familiar scent, feels the soft grey beard touch the top of her head … and sleeps.