Author: Rebecca Hainsworth
Location: West Yorkshire, England
Rebecca Hainsworth was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, in 1991, and is currently studying for her A levels at Beckfoot School. She intends to study an English Literature degree at university and go into teaching. Her work is inspired by a keen interest
in Holocaust history and the poetry of Dan Pagis and Miklos Radnoti.
It must have been after midnight when
he stumbled into the hospital.
He was a bald scarecrow with grey skin
Of course we took him in, gave him a bed.
He refused the striped bed clothes.
From then he slept for days.
And I watched over him, captivated.
His words came short and sharp
like gun fire.
Strange. We asked his name and he replied
with what we supposed was his date of birth.
Three. Eight. One. Nine.
Any sudden movement made him
twitch like a stray cat stalking crows.
He said his head was a crowded
train platform with a thousand voices
screeching like cattle cars on rails.
At night he clung to me like a child.
He said he feared those who had hunted him
were moving in the dark corners of the room.
The days fell like dominos into one another.
It was his time to leave
and begin his search for the past.
He thanked me for everything
I had given him. I asked what it was
I had given.
"Silence" he replied.