Small chores are a lesson
in new responsibilities,
a connection to the world.

Weeding is her favourite:
the blown seed blooms
into poppy and dandelion

in the paving edges, a gift
from the bird table and
autumn wind. They slumber

through winter, these seeds.
Once, she found a dead mouse
as she pulled at the stems,

a sad thing with creased up eyes
and a chewed out heart.
She poked at it with a trowel,

revelling in disgust,
sometimes feeling put upon
as the only child, and isolated

from the whole of her family,
our minor diaspora. I warn her
about my cousins’ rooms,

their clutter of thrush skulls
and snake spines, strippers
on ballpoint pens, a museum

of sealed Star Wars toys,
which no one could touch.
That boy would break down,

flee home to visit my mother
and fill our house with his rage.
This is the lesson. Family floats

through all of our lives, gathers
in cracks, replenishes and survives
but sooner or later we pick over bones.

Daniel Bennett was born in Shropshire and lives and works in London. His poems have been published in numerous places, including Atrium, Eye Flash Poetry Journal, and Under the Radar. His chapbook Arboreal Days is published by Red Ceilings Press.

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