Butcher by Maggie Mackay

The green bus arrives for us

at the end of that two-year siege

which left us compressed

like metal into cubes.


For hours, for days,

we shake-jerk,

as the bus snakes toward

the Rashideen checkpoint.


There, our children, restless for air,

clamber down on to parched earth,

play tag, kick a punched football,

hum lullabies we taught them at bedtime.


A cluster run towards the truck,

ice cream and sweets offered as treats,

beside it a solitary car explodes.

Humpty Dumpty shatters.


Eggshell flesh, runny yolk.

The ooze of childhood has us floored.



Maggie Mackay has completed her Masters at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her work can be found in a variety of print and online publications including The Everyday Poet, Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Interpreter’s House, Prole, as well as Beautiful Dragons and Three Drops Press anthologies and Indigo Dreams Publishing magazines. Her work will appear in Atrium at Halloween and in Amaryllis in June. The latter’s editor has nominated her poem ‘How to Distil a Guid Scotch Malt’. for The Forward Prize, Best Single Poem 2017.

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