Go to war and fight for me
I’ll house you in a substandard property with magnolia walls in every room that
eat your voice,
keep you buried in the gloom of other women’s glares.
Coffee mornings and his rank is yours
the stink of lost men clings to the room and you all pretend
it is not clawing at the edges of your skirts
like the children do on the school run,
to the one the settled folk avoid.
Keep those spaces safe for itinerant mothers pulled at the whim of a
game of Risk played in chesterfield leather boardrooms
from Churchill’s days.
They don’t see what we see, they do not look and
you are invisible.
I fake overtime hours to save my holiday for summer sun and far away beaches
(but not Cyprus, I’m not that cruel, yet)
and two weeks stolen Christmas bliss with my family tight safe close,
no barbed wire gates and mirrors under cars forgotten while
crackers bang, not bullets.
Not IEDs taking legs and fathers.
We lock the doors for Xmas Nibbles and Drinkies
while you with your magnolia walls and no family close shout at the kids
who just want their daddy,
sick of fucking daddy daddy daddy,
his sweat dripping as he stands to attention in blistering heat
while you admit defeat and slam in a ready meal
Lisette R. Auton lives in a land-locked town in North-East England. She has a BA Hons from Leeds university in Theatre Acting: Devised Performance which taught her how to be a tree. An MSc in Youth Work and Community Development followed which did not further her tree-based education. As part of a mentorship programme with Writers’ Block North East she is working on her first novel for middle-grade readers and is Writer in Residence for the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima). She works as a writer and facilitator with socially excluded communities and identifies as a disabled dog-loving feminist.