For my children

You will not be fathered by a bigot 

Or raised in a house where the legitimacy of the very breaths you take 

Are policed by their non existence in scripture 

You will be allowed to make your own mistakes 

With your parents voices and hands slowly guiding you 

Their love catching you when you fall 

Love will be on your foreheads 

Etched in your memory hopefully 

Discipline framing thoughts like a steel rod 

Framing thoughts more than actions 

You will not be taught right from wrong 

More than you will be taught the reasons for right from wrong 

Your home will be a safety net 

Not a net for catching your wrongs like fish in the ocean 

Where you are afraid to breathe for  fear of being out of water 

Your questions will be answered 

Your voice or silence will matter 

Mistakes made confessed and forgiven 

Scars nurtured and stitched …helped to heal 

Mom and Dad will not be plastic mannequins of war soldiers 

But humans with raw emotions 

Not harnessing bamboo canes or leather belts 

Strong enough to make our essence felt

Blanks

Doesn’t matter how I feel

It’s gone in the morning 

Like i’m someone else on the outside 

Watching me live my life 

Like you’re fired up in the theatre 

And on your way home 

Then the excitement filters 

Along with the steam 

From your microwave noodles 

When you’re back home alone

I don’t have full words 

For you or for me 

No elegantly spun sentences 

Just halves 

There’s nothing to draw out 

Problems deeper than 

You, me, us 

They’re air 

They’re dust 

Atomic 

No definitions 

Or diagnoses  

They’re all blanks 

And we’re numb

Cal

You make your way to the seams of my favourite dress or skirt 

And peek, more visible than ever 

Make your way through enzymes 

Flow through my bloodstream 

Clogging and tugging at the strings of my heart 

Simultaneously 

Literally 

I love you 

When everyone understands 

Even when they don’t know it yet 

They love you too 

The doctor examines my foot…swollen and rotten 

But I’ll give my arms and the rest of my legs for you 

I may die early but I know what I’ve lived for 

You on my plate 

And in my head 

I’m staring at my ring finger 

I should take it off but I can’t

You’ve insisted I keep it on 

Though my finger throbs

And skin folds make it impossible to see 

I’ll cut it off when you’re not looking 

Thank you for being here through thick and thin 

In my wedding cake and my daily packet of crisps.

Everything

You can’t be in a ballroom

Baring teeth to people you don’t know

Or raising a glass 

Clutching a fake Manolo 

Wondering if anyone noticed 

If you didn’t get the text 

Or the invite on your desk 

You can’t be at a concert 

With the loud music you don’t like 

Seemingly billions of decibels higher 

Than the one that makes you grit your teeth 

In the passenger’s seat 

There were no tickets in your mail

You can’t pretend you know how to cook 

The lamb that makes your stomach fold on itself 

Clutching your printed pages 

Blotched from 3 nights of practice 

No. 

But you hear all the laughter 

And the music 

Smell the burning spices from far away 

You feel it and you don’t 

A life you don’t want but do 

When you can’t be everything 

To another who wants nothing to do with you.