Ingrid's right ear
was still numb
where her father
hit her head


as she climbed the stairs
to Benedict's flat
and knocked at his door
he's in the Park


I think Ingrid
or try the bomb site
on Meadow Row
his mother said


so she climbed down
the stairs
her eyes
filled with tears


her hearing like
she was under water
she crossed the Square


and over Bath Terrace
into the Park
passed by
the flowers beds


the trees
the wire fence
coming into view
her eyes scanned


through the wire
to see if he was on
the swings
but he wasn't


she entered the playground
and searched
but he wasn't there
her heart sank


low ebb feeling
she walked back
through the Park
along the path


and crossed
Bath Terrace
and back through
the Square


passed kids
playing skip rope
or football
some playing a tag game


here and there
she walked down
the slope


and over
Rockingham Street
passed the fish mongers
up the narrow pavement


passed the houses
her eyes watery
looking up the Row
hoping he'll be there


passed the public house
where her father went
and got drunk
and round


into the narrow
side road
where the bomb site
spread before her eyes


the coal wharf
on her right
horses and wagons
still there


she scanned the site
walked to the edge
her heart thumping
her eyes  searching


and there he was
over by the wall
of a bombed out house
2 walls gone


roof blown off
him standing there
picking up stones
she called his name


he turned and waved
she hurried towards him
over bricks
and stones


and chickweed
to where he stood  
2 small stones
in his hand


been looking for you
she said
her voice
on the edge


of breaking
what's the matter?
he said
but guessed


saw her watery eyes
her tone of voice
my ear hurts
she blurted out


and held her right ear
with her hand
your old man?
he said


she nodded
and cried
and Benedict
hugged her


his 9 year old arms
her thin shoulders
they stood


in the recess
of the bombed out house
sunlight pushing
through the tile less roof


what to say or do
he kissed her hand
and ear


a catapult wedged
in the back pocket
of his jeans
the small stones


held tight
in his left hand
he kissed the ear again


it would help
to heal the pain.

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