June rain alters everything; the way
colours wash out to black and white
or sometimes sepia with unexpected scribbles
of green as if a naughty child had taken
a felt-tip to the black and white drawings
in that book about Mervyn Peake, who drew
the liberation of Bergen-Belsen – a girl
with limbs like pipes, her head a china skull.
The cleverness of a child to find any leaves
to colour-in amongst the concrete and the corpses,
but there; a chance tangle of weeds at the foot
of a barbed-wire fence, a gate leaning
off its hinges, half-blocked by the branch
of a fallen tree, young twigs splayed out
against the wet ground like an owl crashed
into a windscreen, a kind of child’s eye beauty,
but every bit as wretched – as dead.
Leaves by Wendy Klein was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (February 2019) judged by Mandy Pannett.