Gill Juleff

Little One

are you grown little one
did you know, as you grew
did they tell you little one

who took her place?
who became mother? little one
did they tell you about that day? little one
how she took the bullet

how close it must have been
between her warm blood and your warm heart
rattle, tack, crack
as luck would have it
on her own doorstep

greeting the morning
sharing the world with you little one
taking the shade of the mango
in fresh cotton print
rattle, tack, crack
the last idle fire of an evil dawn

do you know the truth? little one
why you grew with a heart wound
is there a picture hidden inside
a woman, close, folding a child
as she fell
red spreading from her to you

did they tell you little one
of the white women they took you to
who gathered you and carried you

it would feel good to be there again little one
to hold you a little longer little one
and make my strong arms stronger
wash the blood from your dress more carefully
tell you you were wronged little one

thirty years have gone by
do you have your own little one?
a girl, like you? little one
tucked in the crook of your hip
to present a squared and open heart
do you stand at the door in the morning?

Gill Juleff is an archaeometallurgist with research interests in South Asia and is now a university lecturer. Born and brought up in Cornwall, after decades of wandering, Gill has reached Devon in her endeavour to return home. Poetry is a recent and unexpected dimension to life, triggered by events many years ago in war-torn Sri Lanka but exploring a wide diversity of experiences.

Gill Juleff is an archaeometallurgist with research interests in South Asia and is now a university lecturer. Born and brought up in Cornwall, after decades of wandering, Gill has reached Devon in her endeavour to return home. Poetry is a recent and unexpected dimension to life, triggered by events many years ago in war-torn Sri Lanka but exploring a wide diversity of experiences.