Her voice, tense and brisk,
brooked no contradiction.
Her skin un-kissed by wind or sun,
shrank from life outdoors.
Her flawless make-up, veneered
her skin to face corporate life.
Un-phased by conflict but
floored by soft concessions,
she held her tired back rod-straight,
fought weakness in herself and others
with each deliberate breath. Always
respected, so unliked: Did she know?
Our solitary boss died young
from stress and secret drinking.
We did our duty, marked her passing
at the crematorium. Gathered there
together, we heard another truth –
at nineteen her parents’ Church, aided
by a priest, a nun, deprived her
of her only child, her infant son.
Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon lives near Newcastle upon Tyne and writes short stories and poetry. Her first chapbook was published in 2019: Cerddi Bach [Little Poems] by Hedgehog Press. Her first pamphlet is due to be published in 2020. She is a Pushcart and Forwards Prize nominee. She believes everyone’s voice counts.