Hush. She is sleeping.
See the plump curve of her cheeks still pink from laughter and long play, her lashes
soft and silky as spiders’ webs, see the tributaries of rivers traced on her lids, blue
and green shading to violet, feathered like the wings of a bird.
Observe, too, how her auburn curls are disordered, how they have escaped their
loose binding, how they catch the sparks that fly from these embers, hold them in
their spirals like stars.
Hush. She is sleeping. See how she gathers to her heart the rag doll made lately by
her grandma. See the buttercups and daisies she wears as her crown.
Hush. She is sleeping now. Gone.
Abigail Ottley lives in Penzance, Cornwall. Her work has appeared in more than two hundred publications including The High Window, Ink Sweat & Tears, and Fragmented Voices, and The Selkie. She contributed to Invisible Borders: New Women’s Writing From Cornwall (2020), Morvoren: the poetry of sea-swimming, and the Duff anthology (Dragon Yaffle, 2022). In 2023, she was placed third and Highly Commended in the Frosted Fire Pamphlet Award with two separate pamphlets.