The day they put Thomas Clarke’s body in the ground
Was the day she pulled the veil down.
They were young lovers:
He loved her voluptuous smile and russet hair
She loved his stories.
Married as soon as Thomas left school.
No laughter of children warmed their home.
No little knitted socks from gran.
And the stories stopped.
He grew bitter
She found guilt
And then the neighbours heard the yelling.
She would hide the bruises
Under long sleeves she would sew.
Men at the local pub
Would tell stories
Of young ladies that welcomed his
He imagined a smiling redhead.
And then one morning, in the barn
A cold body she found when looking
For the milk.
And then the funeral.
Of his absence.
Wishing to say something sincere
But truth silenced their voice.
The space marked a barrier.
She stood alone to stare at the earth
And the veil came down.
Thirty years later
When they found her
Sitting in the churchyard;
They peeled the veil away
To reveal a smile.