Pam Riley

Child's Play

Death is not a child�s toy�
red crayons
and the strings of kites
left wandering the attic.
It is not a game
of brick and mortar,
or the collapse of sticks
left chattering like
magpies in the dark.
It does not rhyme
or turn pages,
dogeared and thick
with summer's warm bristle.
It is old men in the park,
and surgery festering
where it is cold.
It is the stench of peat
gargled in a glass,
pious yellow
moldering in skin.
And it nestles�
quietly and breeched
beetle bright and resting
in our haunches.


This cold will not leave us�
winter's miserly gait
picking its way across the flagstones.
It comes with edges,
riddled on the backs of geese
huddled in the snow.
I feel its fine chill
find a home
in these roots
we call a family,
in the cellar where we hid
autumn apples
and oyster shells from summer.
I smell it�
heavy like a stranger
huddled in the doorway,
the reek of snow
weaving through the curtains
as if to claim a place
among us
and suffocate our bones.
And I taste it�
lingering like a mineral,
strident in my throat�
wet with the hope of thaw,
damp and puddling green�
a thin spark
a tender shoot
left dreaming of the spring.

PAM RILEY is a native New Yorker, who still misses the Big Apple. She likes to spend her free time going to the theatre, museums and traveling. She has been writing for years and enjoys working in both poetry and prose. The little quirks and imperfections of life are her inspiration.

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