Poetry

GREENER GRASS

First appeared in Four Three Three in January 2021

Sunlight streams through the woodwork
creating a pattern on the mosquito net.
Although it is morning outside,
I’m not sure of the time. 

Starfish-like on the bed
I listen for the sounds of my offspring.
Have they eaten?
What are they doing?
I hear one of them whine
and am thankful that it quickly fades away.
Glad that they are behaving themselves. 

Nostalgia visits me often
in the shape of solitary days
spent in bed
surrounded by books and a perched laptop
screening sitcoms— 

Those days, I knew what time it was
and I didn’t have to wonder
what was happening beyond my room door. 

I could have that right now. 

The kindle on my bedside watches me
scrolling social media,
trying to lie to myself that it’s not time
to be up yet
that my children don’t need me 

that I have
nothing more important to do than
making myself
happy.

THE DESTINATION IS IMPORTANT TOO

First published in Glitch Words (Issue 4) in January 2021

leaf flower flora branch
Photo by Vesna Kumić on Pexels.com

Little kids have to be allowed
to touch themselves
if they are to grow up to be adults
who know how they
want to be touched.

Purity is overrated.
Orgasms are much better.

FREE DENTAL

First published in Versification in January 2021

woman holding white printer paper
Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

She presses the ice pack to her jaw, waiting for
the throb to freeze into submission.

The tooth would have had to come out anyway.
It was slightly angled,
and causing a cavity.

Even a dentist would have done the same,
she tells herself,
moving the ice to the bruises
on her chest.

THE STORM

First published in Kopi Collective in January 2021

dark clouds in the sky
Photo by Alex Conchillos on Pexels.com

Sitting in the middle,
listening to both sides,
I’m as far removed
from an objective judge
as one could be.

The tide ebbs and then swells
with the rising voices until they
fade away to blackness.

In the dark
I hear the

swish, swish

as the blood
races through
my veins
and the

drip, drip

of what’s left
of my patience
draining from my body.

Don’t do it.
Don’t do it.

It’s too late.

The thunder claps
and the skies open up.
The storm is unleashed.

They run for cover,
fear in their eyes.

With the silence
the sunlight breaks.

The clouds scuttle away as
quickly as they came

and I am left

ashamed.

AUTOMATON

First published in The Rising Pheonix Review in October 2020

person holding sewing machine
Photo by Wallace Chuck on Pexels.com

The machine whirrs beneath her feet,
The fan whirrs above her head.

Her fingers move swiftly,
Guiding the cloth beneath the needle,
Stitching jackets and pants
and dresses and bras, Ones she’ll never wear,
Or see being worn.

Hair neatly combed,
Back hunched over,
Punching in early,
Punching out late.

Plain tea and rice and curry fueled energy.

Able to take ragged edges and turn them into neat lines.
First one, then another,
And another,
And another.

For hours,
For days,
For years.

Pain is a sign of weakness,
To acknowledge it, indulgent.
Period cramps and raging fevers
are for the ones
Whose children back home don’t need new school shoes,
And for those whose parents’ kidneys aren’t failing.

So why are they calling her selfish,
When all she has been is selfless?

When she has always left her sense of self
Folded into a neat rectangle every morning,
Lying in wait under her pillow,
To be reclaimed only at night.

THE DAMN PUDDING

First published in The Daily Drunk Mag in August 2020

I ordered chocolate biscuit pudding today,
desperate for that rush of sugar.
To help me cope with a baby
who was having a bad day.

(Or maybe she was just being a baby.
Either way,
it was making me have a bad day).

And just as it arrived,
she woke up,
needing me,
just when I was really needing
to not be needed.

(Or maybe I just wanted to eat
that damn pudding
before my son got home
and wanted some for himself).

So I called my parents
who were supposed to pick him up after school,
and asked if they could keep him for the afternoon.

Of course they said yes,
and I breathed a sigh of relief,
followed by the usual guilt
while I analysed whether
I had just chosen some pudding
over my son.

(Maybe I’m a struggling new mom,
or maybe I’m just a glutton).