in the garden two children
set fire to their sparklers
and it wasn’t a festival.
the little boy drew a coloured circle
showing the amah in the dark
perched on a little stool
and she was here a long time ago.
jubilant, the little girl’s brand
trailed over a bush
with a shatter of light
as they walked to the house:
“you’re a big boy now, too heavy to carry.”
she stooped over the puny child, barely five,
lifting him from under the arms
and trotted, fat with the neglected girl
clinging to her samfoo.
her smile was like that, thirty years back,
of a slim woman vacant over a dead child;
while fully each gently by the ear
to their bedtime, she has forgotten
that a few more years would make her
think of the night with little stars
as she grows punitive over two children
not weary from sums and rounders
scattering her thoughts freely as they come.