Full Body Protection by Sharon Larkin

There was always a choice:

a salvo of excuses

or retreat at the double.

Both tactics were practised

during the long years of war.


But words are fuel

and fleeing could mean

hot pursuit up the stairs

to be thrown on the bed,

hands grasping your windpipe.


A more pragmatic response –

to mimic a flower, sensitised to storms,

closing petals before the rain of ammo,

or to abandon radio silence,

take cover between piano & sofa –


a junior squaddie

anticipating annihilation,

screaming for back-up

from make-believe reserves,

imagined reinforcements


with more modern armour

against bombardment than

barbute, sallet, bevor, helm,

gorget, pixane, pauncer, vambrace,

poleyn, tasset, gousset, greave.


Sharon Larkin has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing and is Chair of Cheltenham Poetry Society. Her subjects include the natural world and ecology, all things Welsh, spiritual searching, the corporate world, asymmetric relationships and eating disorders.

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