Missing

The fifteen minutes you were gone little one, all the names I’d invented for you – smoocher and moocher and pook – went tumbling and with you couldn’t be found while the light outside was setting hard, the blanket above pulled tight. I was afraid for your little bones, the naked give of your skin with the house messy and the doors shut tightly, your sister crying and me looking everywhere. Your big brother disappeared years ago at about your age he left me and I didn’t look in every cupboard or under beds  I didn’t spill with my life out onto the street drive frantically looking. I knew where he was and who had taken him. If I had known how much he would disappear, the water surface still, the wind hidden in the trees, days stacked upon days in wonky wooden towers, I might have tried a little harder; but I knew where he was and thought that to keep my hand extended feeling for his fingertips was enough. When I went looking, he wasn’t behind a door, quiet and frightened by his own breathing and the way the house was creeping cold, wondering where his dad had gone – but you little one were there, while the boards contracted with the cold silence of your disappearance, and the sun raced round to find you.

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