Mauritania

The flat was art deco, with arched windows, moulded ceilings and original carpet with maroon and indigo swirls. Glass panels in the doors were lead-lighted maritime scenes, casting refracted patterns of coloured light. It was on the top floor of the apartment block, the exterior curved like the bow of an ocean liner. The stone … More Mauritania

Refuge

The beach was strewn with tangled cords of seaweed. Gulls pecked at them, their wings outstretched. A pinprick of sun strained to appear in the dull grey sky. Leonie walked down the path from her cottage onto the sand. She hugged her arms, the loose knit of her jumper inadequate against the wind. A gull … More Refuge

Chasing words

The heads of the peony roses drooped and Johan drooped with them. The melody of the song had rattled around in his mind for weeks, but the words to accompany it were absent. His mother tended the roses and shot anxious looks in his direction. She held her secateurs as if they were made of gold. … More Chasing words

Freedom’s night

Freedom’s night pulses with crowd Marigold flashes on indigo sky Childrens’ waves and delight.   Pavement seeps blood Bodies fly Screams of exodus Pounding on doors Wild-eyed.   A boy tended by a mother Fed, dressed, educated. Crucial elements missing— empathy and tolerance.   These boys rise into men, tainted stalks,  numb implements of hate.   … More Freedom’s night

Customer Service

It was a smile so brittle and symmetrical, Sam was sure the receptionist practised it in front of a mirror. The tilt of her head seemed an affectation, the enamel of her teeth blinding white. No matter what Sam said, the expression and inflection remained the same—bright, saccharine and devoid of sincerity. ‘Can we get … More Customer Service