A pocket full of posies


The heat woke me before my mother did. She swept into the bedroom clutching dried posies in one hand and my sister in the other. The orange glow from the flames that engulfed our city only magnified the redness rising in my sister’s cheeks. Outside, men armed only with buckets fought to save homes from the inferno. We passed St Paul’s cathedral. Her pretty stained-glass windows shattered, dusting the streets in shards of red and green. Flames licked at her roof, melting the lead. An old man rushed past, he pushed a wheelbarrow bearing a woman, her face badly burned. I wondered why my mother had taken the time to bring the posies, the plague was the least of our concerns tonight. The river banks were ten deep in men, all hoping for a boat. As the crowd swelled around us I lost my mother’s hand. Left to the mercy of unsuspecting knees I was quickly knocked to the ground. Gravel bit into my palms. Through small gaps, I caught glimpses of the crimson sky, but no river, no boats and not my mother.

“c’mere boy.”

A callused hand gripped my collar. Moments later I found myself gliding down the Thames. To my great relief, and hers, I found my mother and sister on the opposite bank. Among a gathering of curious villagers, we watched our city burn. My mother knelt and took my cheek in her palm, brushing away tears.

“Houses can be rebuilt. Our home is each other.”


By Stacey Potter


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2 responses to “A pocket full of posies”

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