© Kym Eitel

Winner, 2011 ‘ABPA Australian Written Poetry Championship’, Morisset, NSW.

The two year old daughter of a local farming family, drowned in the creek near their house. The parents say they can still hear her playing in their bedroom each night …

As they’re laying in the darkness, trapped by trials and curse of life,

there’s a broken-hearted husband and his broken-hearted wife.

Are they sleeping?  Are they dreaming of their little one passed on?

Cold, wet teardrops on their pillows prove the aching hasn’t gone.

So they listen to the darkness for they feel their child is near -

creeping, creeping as they’re sleeping.  Yes, there’s sadness, but no fear.

They hear little footsteps patter, and they hear her gentle breath,

never aging, never aging, youth preserved in tender death.

Oh, the mother’s heart is shredded and she longs to stroke blonde hair

but she knows it’s just a ghost child, just the empty warm night air.

Yes, for many nights before this, she has scrambled out of bed

feeling certain that the noises weren’t just memories in her head.

As she flicks the light and searches, calling, crying; heart lays bare,

all her expectations shattered, for her daughter isn’t there.

So they sadly lay and listen to the one they’ll never hold,

to their ghost child softly playing in their room, with hair of gold.

Amy’s curly locks are sunlit, laughing eyes of summer blue,

smiling cheeks are soft and chubby with a glow of rose-pink hue.

Such a perfect little cherub in the photos on the wall -

she is smiling, giggling, laughing, but for parents, teardrops fall.

They hear scuffling, shuffling, muffling as she plays with toys and sings.

They hear clinking on the duchess as she tries on Mummy’s rings.

And the cat is watching, watching, with its knowing feline stare

and it’s purring, blinking, purring.  Unseen fingers stroke its hair.

Then the angel girl is sleepy, hear her softly, softly yawn,

then they feel the blankets lifting as she slips in bed at dawn.

So for now, the family’s whole again - with mum and dad, she lays.

Feeling peace at last, they fall asleep, to dream of better days.

Was it just imagination or a desperate, desperate dream?

Did they feel her red-lipped kisses by the wisp of moon’s bright beam?

But the morning light brings tears of joy to sail a thousand ships,

for their cheeks wear lipstick kisses from their angel girl’s sweet lips.