Return to the valley with the railway in the basin

by Ruby Dunn


Home again and child again and adult enough
That when you have a nightmare again you don’t wake
Mum this time. You carry yourself to the sofa.
Night crowds around and you are still small, so
You are still aware of your own lack of power –
Not unlike a child who,
roaring back at the wind,
is unsurprised when nothing quiets.
Step out, then
And preach to the streetlights. Tell them your name –
You are not afraid. Tell the stars that even they look
Small from here. Do not let this dim air smother you –
Look at it: the whole sky, like some sticky-handed
School-child’s diorama, domed and smudged, all
                  wires –
I pull them apart like Granny’s dumplings;
and out pours
                          Carry yourself inside
and make hot cocoa. Find a bowl when you feel sick:
Some questions don’t have answers. Hang the stars back up;
Everything must go back in the box. Quiet now. Be still;
It is very late. You are only small.




Ruby Dunn is a history student in Scotland. Her degree, her faith and her natural surroundings prompt her to explore the world she is being welcomed into, both personally and poetically. Her work has been published by Trampset, the Soor Ploom Press and the Hyacinth Review, among others. As a writer she’s never quite sure if she’s emerging or retiring, but she’s usually just glad to be involved.