Blurred picture of a child's small wooden toy ambulance

Third place, Spring 2022

there’s a nee-naw nee-nawin’ down t’road outside an jack halton thumps me cos we’re laikin’ toy cars in’t church playgroup, an i’ve got t’ambulance in me ’and an jack’s maungy cos t’real nee-naw ‘appened when i ’ad t’toy un, but then grandma picks me up early wi’ a face full o lines, more lines than she normally wears, an she says summat what makes t’playgroup lady go white, an t’lady sees me clutchin t’ambulance an says i can take it ’ome, an jack grabs for it, but she shushes ’im, an kneels down to stroke me cheek an pops t’ambulance in me pocket, an then i’m off down t’road, one ’and hurty-tight in grandma’s an t’other round t’ambulance in me pocket, an grandma’s walkin raight quick like it’s important to keep goin, so quick i daren’t ask where me mam is, an when we go past t’end o my street grandma tugs me along even faster, an when i look down t’street there’s a real ambulance at t’far end, wi lights an ambulance men an all, an it feels like summat big’s ’appening, summat grownup, but we don’t stop, an at ’ome grandad’s got sammy on ’is lap, an sammy’s fur’s damp but it weren’t rainin, an we get fish suppers from t’chippy for a treat, an grandma tucks me up in’t back bedroom, an i’m surprised cos me mam din’t say owt about a sleepover, but grandma’s face is all fierce lines again so i don’t ask, an she lets sammy sleep at t’bottom o’t bed, an when i wake in’t middle o’t night i can’t get back to sleep so i laik on’t raggy rug wi sammy an t’ambulance till mornin, wishin jack were ’ere to play an all, an just nee-nawin’ raight quiet so i don’t wake anyone