Bridge Over St. Mary’s Way, by Zoë Siobhan Howarth-Lowe

In her dream,
(the recurring one)
she is walking towards town,
with her granddad, sister and step-dad.
Walking over the patch
of waste ground:
a scrub field littered with bike frames,
backed onto by factories
and split by the river;
pumped full of the chemicals
from St Mary’s dye works.
They are forced to cross the bridge
– the narrow one
with spiked railings.

Granddad always crosses first,
while the bridge is still a bridge,
then she follows
trying to drag her sister
to the safety of the bank,
their step-dad following
too close behind.

Then the bridge distorts –
footpath and railings
weaving into rope,
swaying under their feet.

She tries to keep a grip
on her sister
keep her at least one step
out of their step-dad’s reach:
but they stumble
and are twisted apart
her sister’s ankle caught in his fist –
his other hand reaching out for her.

The ropes contort
entangling her but pitching
sister and step-dad down
past the rocks and into the river
running red with dye from the factory.


Zoë is a Poet and Mum from Dukinfield. She has an MA in Poetry from Bath Spa University.
Her work has appeared in Magma, The Lake, Atrium, Curly Mind, Picaroon Poetry and The Black Light Engine Room amongst others. She also enjoys wargaming, painting models and scrapbooking.

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