Two Poems by Abi Wyatt

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


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.


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