by Michael Ponsford
When he came home late last night—a thin paring of the moon his witness—he found a bottle of Lagunilla nearly empty on their kitchen table, with two of their wedding glasses. In one of them was still a half-inch of dark red wine; and in the wine a hawk-moth was struggling. Its face loomed behind the bulbous glass; its wings were powdery, like a moon printed behind thin cloud. There was something obscene about it, he thought.
Why should he wonder who had called on her?
He opened the back door to the thin-edged night, and threw the dregs of wine, the moth, towards the dark shadow of the flower-beds.
In a room upstairs, the woman he loved was sleeping.
He opens that door again early this morning, stands on the back step cradling his daughter, Ella, who has woken early.
The night has been thin since his coming home. His sleep was broken.
Now, Ella yawns on his shoulder, worries at a broken finger nail; someone down the street, even at this hour, is practising scales on a cello. The neighbour’s cat on the shed roof lets the sunlight stripe its back.
And something else soon catches at his eye: a dark stain of wine splashed across the flagstones near the bed they’d put in last year, those flowers she’d wanted for their fragrance. Lunaria, he remembers. Honesty.
Michael Ponsford has had poetry and fiction placed in several small press magazines, mostly in his native Wales; he is an English teacher in Wiltshire.