is falling down an endless flight.

The beak-nosed doctor

arrives and kneels – a mirror – a feather –

makes a note, then lifts

her back up the stairs (so heavy!)

to her fresh-painted nursery

in Blackheath. Dorothy you say? He notes

the time. And she was three?

It is 1907 and death

in infancy is commoner still

than teenage trench fever.

Shell-shocked, her parents

know the correct form,

first draw the curtains,

order the black crape

for Mr Eady (Master

Tailor) to sew up

his own daughter’s funeral.  Now the doctor

is returning with a nurse and a death certificate.

He holds a quill out formally for the signature

then enters the nursery for the washing of the corpse –

finds it sitting up and covered with chocolate.