Babushka kept a pig in the bathtub
while the Red Army raided barns
and larders enforcing Holodomor.
Outside on the Kiev streets bloated
stick bodies staggered, staining snow
-drifts like squashed bluebottles.
The children named the pig Binka
against their mother’s warnings.
Come slaughter day they waited
on the balcony with scarves tight
round their ears but the screams
rang loud and their tears froze.
The British three day week; fish, chips
by candlelight. I strutted my hot pants
to Bowie and Bolan on Pirate Radio;
sniggered when Papa built secret shelves
inside the chimney breast to hide tins
of flour, sugar, rice, pasta and preserves.
The year of Covid 19; I empty bookcases,
arrange tins of beans, soup, fruit and tuna.
Lockdown. I stare out at an empty street
counting down every wavering heartbeat.