Monday, 17 June 2019

Write-In 2019: 'Hope' by Vicky Newham

She crouches against the cold wall. Motionless. Strains her ears. Listens. Scans the calm hush of the roof terrace. Is it safe now? Has the man gone?

Overhead, the night-time gods spill black and grey, like cavernous yawns. Pain sears through her knees, the flimsy cloth of her trousers no match for stones.

She straightens up. Grabs the parapet. Swings leaden legs over and rests her butt. Sits.


Easy to slip.

She inhales the vista's sweetness; the refuge that night provides.

All around, the quiet horizon screams with light. It's not the whispers of those who sleep that she hears; not the manic inertia of the shift-workers and insomniacs. It's the pained tapping of the homeless who prowl the city at night, as she does. Their punctured souls drip like leaky buckets on knowing pavements.


She could let herself slip. End the agony of a life diminished.

And yet. Hope scratches again, louder now. Somewhere in this vast city, kindness will smile on her again. Kindness will restore the life which misfortune greedily stole.

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