Issue Three:
Against regulations

By Vanessa Gebbie

Today, there’d be no going home
for her boy, no matter how easy
his remains might be to steal,

what with our baggage security
and what they would see
on their screens.

Back then, what passing thoughts
while she tucked
him in
for the long journey home

from a field at Loos
to Toronto?
That the case

was only a little
larger than
his bassinet?

Or that in different times,
X-rays would peer into
its innards

and seek out
the dark pattern of iron
among the latticework

of his bones,
telling her, who knew everything
there was to know about his birth,

precisely how he’d died,
but not exactly why.


for Anna Durie who, after WW1, took her son’s body home from the Western Front to Canada in a suitcase

About the Contributor

Vanessa Gebbie is a novelist, poet and short fiction writer – author of seven books, she has won awards for both prose and poetry.  She teaches widely.

Losslit canon

The Night Rainbow - Claire King

The Night Rainbow is an extraordinary tour de force. It is narrated by a young girl called Pea (Pivoine) who lives with her younger sister Margot and their newly twice-bereaved mother. The team have lost their father, but also their long expected new baby. Set in glorious southern France, the childrens' lives pivot round looking after themselves as their mother suffers the after-effects of both losses. It is wonderfully observed, beautifully written, and never sentimental. A pleasure to discover and utterly heartwarming.

See all entries in the Losslit canon

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