Violence punctures the night.
The air thick with resentment
Steams paint off the walls.
Misery seeps up the stairs,
For stamping on, or running up
In angry pursuit,
Or tip-toed down.
The bread is hacked
Banging a table on the wall.
It is a house of walls.
The ones he sits behind reading
The ones children play in.
The walls between parents.
Saucepans are beaten
On the stove like drums.
The woman mutters bitterly.
“He’s out of work again. Lazy!”
The man, “Stop nagging!”

The child speaks into silence
at the meal table.
“Is there a law you have to
Be married if you want a baby?
Because if there is, I don’t want one.”
Her dolls have rosebud lips.
“Go to your room!”
Tomatoes, the only bright
Things about supper,
Left with a regretful glance.
In her room, a book of romantic
Poems, comforting to read until,
“Come and do the washing up!”
She’s not old enough to leave home,
But the world beckons
And she has plans…………….


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