Home Educated

Home Educated

If my mother taught me anything

it was how the weak inherit the dirt

buried beneath the weight

of putting husbands first

and living through your children.

If my mother taught me anything

it was the chains of festering silence

tied to family secrets

the way you and my father screamed after dark

the way you feigned happiness in the morning.

If my mother taught me anything

it was to criticise my body

hate my own bones

till starving showed them through my skin

how you would be proud of me then.

If my mother taught me anything

it was the vicious birth

you called us sacrificial blood

threw money at the graves of those you slaughtered

expecting forgiveness and calling it love.

Paramnesia

Paramnesia

Close my eyes,

try to let go of the grey,

dream of childhood tempers

scaling six foot wooden fences

because Little Miss Stubborn won’t use the gate.

Return to the known terrors,

to the films I’ve re-lived a thousand times,

find the familiar space

between the back of the shed and the train tracks,

feel the comforting quake as they speed passed,

the false sense of safety

found in running away from my problems.

Dream Wrapping

Dream Wrapping

Opening the card, it reads

‘Happy Christmas, love Santa’,

by double figures, means

‘It’s Christmas, from Mum and Dad’,

declining to seventeen’s

‘Christmas. Mum.’

And you were what was left

of pass the parcel,

layers peeled away,

and in all the excitement

of what you could have been

they saw not what you were,

the suspicious package

in a neglected nativity scene.

Left wrapped

to re-use next Christmas,

left wrapped

to keep warm in winter,

to dress the body modest,

or just for a while,

to stabilise the bones

bubble-wrapped in a box marked ‘FRAGILE’

then set alight to smoke,

breathing in the sticky sweet tobacco,

vacuum-packed for a fresher death,

the little matchstick girl

takes her last breath

and wakes up,

wrapped in your arms.

Buoy

Buoy

It’s a swimming costume in the bath

kind of day.

It’s a child

pressing for privacy.

It’s the creeping fingers

crawling under your skin

in silent scorn.

It’s reading between the lines

between the lines

between the lines.

It’s force

that’s full body

but weak

like cheap shampoo.

It’s tears

mixing with a torrential shower

drowning your screams

for what feels like

fifty thousand hours.

It’s the trembling

no amount of layers

can cure.

It’s terror

without even needing

to open the door.