Andrew Senior

The life of Shirley Hughes

Andrew Senior

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The day before the invasion began Shirley Hughes

died peacefully at home aged 94

following a short illness.

The end

of glorious, colour-filled pages;

cascades of birthday parties, school fetes,

toys piled high, red welly boots,

yellow welly boots, family gathered,

warm light on cold nights,

star shapes on the bedroom ceiling. 

There is no Alfie in Kyiv, no Annie Rose

in Kharkiv. There was a Kirill

in Mariupol but he is there

no more. No more

storybooks, no more bedtimes.

Just a February wind blowing

empty and bitter across the Azov.

If the children don’t matter, then

no one matters. Vladimir Vladimirovich,

may it not be peaceful for you. 

Andrew Senior

Andrew Senior is a writer of short fiction and poetry based in Sheffield, UK. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in The Heartland Review, Abridged, the Crank, Litro Magazine and Flash Fiction Magazine. You can see more of his published work at