The Specialist Tutor’s Tale, by Helen Kay

For the stressy mum arrested in the playground
the lad who hid in boasts that he was thick
the girl who hid the bruise behind her label
the academic who tore up my report.

For the fitter who whipped his timesheets
home for his wife to fill, for the medic
who fought for years with does and dose
for the guy who drank his way to eloquence.

For the girl who snapped her pens into the bin
when every word she shaped said worthless
and the paedophile who couldn’t hear
the gentle difference of ‘cut’ and ‘cunt’.

For the prisoner, who at 20, wrote a first word
for the refugee who was told he’s just
an ESOL case – a trauma case
for millions made to feel they are the problem.

Our mouths are clogged by codes of privacy.
Our eyes well up with heavy untold tales.
We prop up lives in corridors and cupboards
with migraine lights and empty tissue boxes.


Helen’s poems have been accepted by various magazines including Stand, The Morning Star and Rialto. Her debut pamphlet, A Poultry Lover’s Guide to Poetry, was published in 2015 (Indigo Dreams). She was runner up in the Cheshire High Sherriff’s prize for Literature in 2016 and winner of the 2018 Rosamond prize. She is currently working on a Dyslexia and Poetry project which has a facebook page.

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