Read Poetry: Into Hiding, by Brian Wake


Hiding from me at bedtime, my daughter

sneezes and giggles from inside the wardrobe.

I wonder where she is, I act. Pretending

not to see her four small fingers clutching 

the door but, fearing the dark far more

than she does me, she surrenders. I gasp 

in mock surprise. Soon she will be sleeping.


In Germany once

whole families hid in cupboards

while friends pretended not to see.

But, seventy years on, most would say

forget, forgive, let ancient horrors be.


Me? I am reminded tonight of the mother 

who, on hearing footsteps on the stairs, 

hurried her children into hiding; four hearts 

thumping in a wardrobe.


Like mine, perhaps her daughter

would have giggled had she sneezed.

Sneezed and giggled, giggled and sneezed,

sneezed away four lives.


I smothered her so the others might survive.

It was Thursday, the ninth, in nineteen thirty 

Nine. November, she says, I remember, thinking 

even then how all her little movements

were as earthquakes when matched against 

the stillnesses to come.





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