Digging up the Past
They’re turning up old murders now,
digging up the past.
Forensics is the cutting edge
that slices through the dark.
But the beast of thirty years ago
is the old fool in the park
who draws his knitted muffler close
to ward off winter’s chill.
It’s hard to think he goes to kill
an hour or two each day
to feed the sparrows and the ducks
and see the kids at play;
but harder to still to contemplate
the faces in his head
that rise in with his remembrance
of the ghastly, graceless dead.
4th March, 1924: How It Was Then
Matilda Jane Ottley fought and screamed
over two long days and nights.
Her flesh, she said, was spitted and racked
and hacked like so much meat.
So she cursed and scratched and grizzled and spat,
and thrashed and wrestled and swore.
‘You drop your pride with your drawers,’
she said. ‘That was my first mistake.’
She survived the birth but with what sad weight
my father tipped the balance of her life:
for her ten-pound, laughing, blue-eyed boy,
she was stripped of all her bloom.
Though love slept on and the child grew fat,
all her fierce wanting had fled.
Night after night, the lamp-light hissed
and the bedclothes shivered her fear.
Abi Wyatt writes for her life in the shadow of Carne Brea near Redruth. Formerly a teacher, she was paroled in 2004 and now writes poetry and short fiction as well as being the ‘house’ reviewer for Palores Press. She has been published in a number of magazines and e zines including Words with JAM, One Million Stories and ‘Poetry Cornwall’. Her poetry collection ‘Moths in a Jar’ became available in November, 2010.