O dearest child, millennial thing,
how slow the world must seem to spin,
when screens and phones aren’t close at hand,
a state you scarcely comprehend.
Oh what on earth your ‘friends’ might think?
You haven’t shared or liked their link
immediately – as such things demand,
else chaos sweep and storm the land.
Imagine if you had to wait
for anything at all in life,
how terrible it all might seem,
that you could not simply surf and stream,
instead you’d have to fill your time
with love: [Click Here to Generate].
The Global Average
She prays her children see tomorrow –
He plays a soldier, settings maxed for gore,
She hopes her rapists will not follow –
He hones his skills to win computer war.
He rages over lag and lost connection –
She raves as bullets swarm around her,
He frees up space for increased frames per second –
She flees her home as bombs sound louder.
She tries to find some sort of shelter –
He tires of games and finds his iPad air,
She struggles on, her footsteps falter –
He snuggles warmly in his leather chair.
He streams his favourite films and chats with friends –
She screams as she is taken hostage,
He does not think of far-off, distant lands –
She dies in pain, her will exhausted.
I breathed, relieved to know I’d made it home.
I leant my head against the door, the chilled,
unpainted wood felt real and solid. Visions
of death and horror swarmed within my mind:
that woman’s blood soaked thighs, her ravaged breast,
serrated lips and gaping eyes; the child
a rigid mass, unmoving, blind – a child
who’d seen its mother raped, its broken home
destroyed and wrecked by the most debased of beasts.
I’d retched outside, until the sweat had chilled
inside my proud, new shirt. Then once my mind
had stopped cavorting, wiping tears, my vision
refocused, then, I’d looked again; envisioned
a woman torn apart, whose infant child
still wouldn’t release her lifeless hand. ‘Now mind
your step,’ the Chief had warned, ‘and treat this home
just like your own.’ I’d tip-toed over chilled
and browning pools of blood, to draw abreast
of Sergeant Smith. ‘Inspect the victim’s breast,’
he’d whispered, ‘nipple ripped in two divisions,
and note the tears – still red – within the chilled
and greying flesh.’ I’d turned toward the child
instead, and thought of my boy safe at home;
I’d sent a silent prayer that Michael’s mind
remain untainted by such sin. ‘Remind
me later,’ I’d replied, my voice the barest
of rasps, ‘to reconsider if my home’s
secure enough,’ and straight away revisions
for stronger locks coursed through my mind. The child
then sighed. I’d almost screamed, a shiver had chilled
the smallest hairs all down my spine; had chilled
the breath within my chest. The Chief, unmindful
of my distress, had ordered, ‘bag that child,
and for the love of god, conceal her breast.’
Though once the dead were far beyond my vision,
a stench of iron remained inside the home.
Yet still my heart is chilled within my breast
and I’m exhausted; my mind is plagued with visions
of nameless, faceless children in unsafe homes.
‘Of course not, Sir, I’ll be happy to help’
while still tasting toothpaste she forces a smile
and momentarily stops stacking her shelf,
‘they’re just over here, right next to the bread,’
she smiles once again, heading back to her aisle.
‘Of course not, Miss, I am here to help,
what was it exactly, you couldn’t find for yourself?’
She quickly arranges the cakes in a pile
then temporarily stops stacking her shelf.
‘They’re selling out fast, but we’ve still a few left,’
she smiles yet again, supressing a sigh.
‘Of course not, Dan, I was just trying to help
that girl over there, and I haven’t quite yet
got around to the booze, there just hasn’t been time,
though I’m about to get back to stacking my shelf.’
She glares at her boss, swearing under her breath
and takes a few seconds to wipe tears from her eyes.
‘Of course not, Ma’am, now how can I help?’
and immediately she stops stacking her shelf.
Born in the UK, 1990, Matthew Pither lives in Copenhagen and is an autobiographer of few words.
Photo: Jack Malvern