The stables
where horses
snort and move


and grooms work
and sky dull
and greyish


Alice walks
holding on
for dear life


to the hand
of Mary
the one she


has chosen
to be her
new mother


fingers red
with washing
chores and things


but it's warm
as she holds
the hand tight


Mary talks
of cold nights
noisy bed


attic mice
and spiders
in corners


of the room
Alice says
I could stay


in your room
keep you warm
cuddle up


hold you close
as I did
with Mother


in her bed
before she
was locked up


with illness
of her brain
Mary sighs


feels the hand
in her own
small and warm


small fingers
tiny nails
pink and pure


different class
than her own
we will see


Mary says
stable sounds
horses snort


their large heads
looking out
big black eyes


large white teeth
busy grooms
at their work


Alice looks
inner fear
but draws near


wants to stroke
Mary lifts
Alice up


her red hands
wedged beneath
small armpits


mother's love
smells the soap
in the hair


on the blue
Alice smiles


feels the horse
smooth and hot
on her hand


Mary holds
feels the heart
beating soft


as she holds
Alice up
to the horse


secret child
in her heart

none must know
of this love
secret pact


lift her on
a groom says
Alice thrills


lifted there
Mary holds
the groom laughs


in loud barks
in the blood
this horse love


the groom says
Alice smiles


shining out
of her eyes
Mary holds


her tightly
keeps her there
on the horse


safe and sound
then later
after that


lifts her down
to the ground
as the horse


with the groom
walk away
come on then


Mary says
let's go back
your father


will wonder
where you are
Alice nods


holds the hand
soft and warm
wants to be


close to her
but she sees
by the house


Nanny stand
arms folded
grim features


dressed in black
Mary holds
the child's hand


tighter still
walking back.

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