Most of Us by Miki Byrne

Most of us live in boxes, in a line.

Horizontal, vertical.

Shared walls bleed noise,

won’t hold a screw for the mirror

that shows a million tired faces.

There’s a cream-cracker yard

or a plastic pot for colour.

Meagre grass grows sour.

Or graffiti’d walkways skein

between flats where old folk

stay indoors after dark

and mothers cry

at their children’s choices.

Wring their hands at bad company and fear.

There’s a shabby row of maudlin shops

a cut-price supermarket and an offie.

A bus stops nearby, for a trip to the town

that frowns over its barnacle estates.


Most of us work at what we can.

In the black and the red.

Casual and quiet-

or through job-centre hoops,

that pin dignity to our sides with rules,

prising questions.

Most of us would love a little bit more.

For the girls wedding, school uniforms.

A night out with mates,

who play the same game.

While the twist in our gut, grows every day

of doing without and the only chance

is a lottery ticket that never comes up

but we hope. Always hope.

Most of us know wrong from right.

Can respect, respect.

Though we might blur the edges

but don’t big ourselves into crime

for  a sharp reputation.

We mind our own business.

Persevere day after day

and we’ll stay right here. Forever.


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