Visit to the Monastery in Greece

by Penny Blackburn

We stayed ages in the church where Mummy lit a candle
and stared at it. I did my best to be a good boy
like she asked. I tried not to look at thorny Jesus on the wall.
Jesus in my Sunday school suffers the little children. He doesn’t look like this
but Mummy says he is the same.

We went out of a different door and we were on the roof,
in a garden where the sun was very bright. I sneezed
and Mummy laughed. She said smell the time
but I did not know it had a smell. The cats
were everywhere, planted like flowers in the heavy pots
and dry earth beds. All different colours.
Mummy said some are more ripe than others.

It was me who found the basket. In a shady corner,
under a blue cotton cloth, five still-blind
babies curled together. Mewling gently to each other.
Mummy wouldn’t let me touch. She squeezed
me tightly, whispered my little kitten
into my hair. I wondered again where
Daddy was. But I have learned not to ask.

We stayed like that a little bit, watching the kittens
writhing in the basket. Then we went back into the dark
inside the church. Mummy’s candle had burned down
hardly at all.