My first was stillborn,
My cries carried across the fields on the cusp of a winter storm
The snow lay thick on the ground,
I lay like a mewling ewe and cradled her in my arms
Before the long walk home.
There were others, each swelling of my belly a signal of his pervasive masculinity.
Three brothers followed by a changeling child and so we were cast aside forced to live as outcasts
I moved boulders and stones and tilled the soil, back-breaking into the dead of night
A bairn on my back and another one snug as a bug deep inside.
He couldn’t feel my pain.
One by one they all moved on, they wearied at our laborious life
They found themselves new families and took themselves a wife
And I was left behind, old hag with sagging breasts
No milk to nursefeed bairns on winter nights
No place for my wearied bones to rest.
© Alison Jean Hankinson
This is for imaginary garden with real toads where we were invited to write in the voice of another.