I can remember the feral children from next door, their outstretched claws
The sieve-like quality to their coats, bright eyes and grubby faces.
A Dickensian novel brought to life by the smell of cooked scones
With mother always obliging, tea-towel-wrapping steaming spheres
To be taken home so the warmth could be shared amongst the family.
From the porch I would watch their tracks dissipate in the snow down
Our winding avenue, three wise men laden with compressed gifts of
Sultanas, flour and margarine and how the moon shone differently that
Night, curling conspiratorially, tugging at the drawstrings of their
Jackets. Urging those footsteps faster and faster through the dark.
Forgotten footsteps until a random errand forced us out into the gleaning void
When rounding a bend our headlights caught wolf-like movement in the hedgerow.
Six eyes transfixed by the glare, so startled that scone pieces good be seen
pirouetting through the air, the look of innocent savagery on pale crumby faces
That reminds me today of a light in our hallway that shines on half the staircase.
How best made intentions often give way to the dark; how we are constantly caught
In the no-man-space between self-preservation and camaraderie
Squabbling with each other among the ruins.
Vincent Steed has been published in the Galway Review, Headstuff, Into the void, Crannog and Skylight 47. He was longlisted for the 2015 & 2016 Over the Edge competition and shortlisted for the 2016 Doolin poetry competition.