We used to start our Christmas shopping
on the September long weekend we get here.
Until the year we stood at the mirror in the hall
and I said ‘they could share a room, anyway.’
Until the year the midwives had said ‘a line is a line is a line,’
then the bleeding started.
Until the year we had been a tiny little bit pregnant
so we went to Holy Island
now we weren’t pregnant at all, you took the toddler for a walk
so I could sit on a dune and cry.
Until the year we were pregnant again by October.
Every September weekend, I remember
the tiny little bit of pregnant I was,
over that long weekend: the anniversary of you,
you tiny little bit that never came to anything.
We never start our Christmas shopping in September.
You are a great big girl’s blouse.
This is you.
You are fiddly collars, you are pearl-shaped, impossible to handle buttons, you are flowery prints, or patterns of tiny embroidered kittens. Your cuffs float in soup.
You are restricted from running, from stretching, from growing, from being taken seriously, from working beyond middle management. You are ten per cent more expensive. You are baby sick on the shoulder. You are stained with orange squash. Whether crumpled or ironed you are still not fit to be seen.
You are more to choose from, but you only come in sizes to fit washboard stomachs (big is a deceptive descriptor). You are designed for the male gaze. You are ironed – to within an inch of your life. You are static and starched. You are floaty and flimsy.
You are tied at the back.
My house is waiting.
For the silence that descends. Like golden syrup, like the homemade quilted blanket heavy with blue flowers,
the silence of no other people.
For the mythical day when everything is either on a shelf, in a drawer, or nestled in a cupboard.
For the pears to ripen and fall, ripen and fall.
For the cat to complete his rotation of sleeping places: bed upstairs, bed downstairs, sofa, office chair, other office chair, bench in the kitchen, camouflaged against a black coat on the floor.
For someone to either read all of the books, or put all of the books in the goddam charity shop.
For the sun to warm the mossy patches outside the front door:
the ones the sun never reaches.
For two children watching a red moon in their pyjamas, shivering in the dark.
As I scuttle off for the summer months, I just wanted to say some ‘thank yous.’
Thanks for sticking with me.
Thanks for telling me you read tinylife every week.
Thanks for the likes and comments: here, on Facebook, on Twitter.
Thanks for letting me whine, ramble, rant, figure things out as I go along, say very little, say far too much, say things in a roundabout way, say things in a direct way, say things with brutal honesty, and talk on a range of disparate subjects.
Thanks for putting up with my God-awful drawing skills.
Particular thanks to Cheryl for not being cross when I forgot (again!) to post her guest posts.
Thanks to Cheryl for her guest posts.
Thank you for supporting my writing, my poetry, my novels, and my creative life.
tinylife will be back in September.
‘Sugar Puffs? Weetabix? Hoops?’
‘Sugar Puffs? Why didn’t you say you wanted them when I asked you?’
‘Go get dressed.’
‘Are you dressed? Why aren’t you dressed?’
‘It’s 8:15 now. Are you dressed?’
‘I’m setting a timer. If you’re not dressed in five minutes, no screen after school.’
‘OK. Stop that. You need to brush your teeth.’
‘Putting a toothbrush in your mouth on a timer is not the same as brushing.’
‘Nooooo, brush all of your teeth, not just the bottom ones on the left hand side.’
‘Do you want your hair up?’
‘OK, you just need your snack and then you’re ready.’
‘You said you didn’t want your hair up!’
‘OK. Yes, I can put it up. No, I need to brush it properly. Well you haven’t, it’s got tangles.’
‘Go. To. School.’
‘No, you CAN’T stay home today.’
Oh, it’s June again. I probably blogged the exact same whine last year.
June 2019 highlights so far include:-
- waking up at 3:30am and making a ‘June’ calendar from an IKEA paper roll
- colour co-ordinating said calendar for each family member
- saying to myself ‘well, that’ll be OK, I just need not to add in anything else.’
- organising two more things that same day. For June.
- scheduling a mental health day for my youngest and thinking ‘oooh duvet day for me too!’
- losing all patience with a child who doesn’t want to go to school and telling them ‘I would be carted off to the loony bin’ if I home-schooled them. (Extra points for bad parenting AND derogatory language surrounding mental health all wrapped up in one grumpy sentence.)
- counting down the hours to July, summer holidays, and sweet, sweet freedom!
So, the submissions period for the anthology has come and gone. I only got two poems a day too late!
I’m delighted – I received over 70 poems for consideration. I have been in touch with everyone who submitted, so if you’ve not heard from me, please let me know.
It has been a real joy to read all your submissions. From funny poems to heart-breaking ones, poems that were super inventive with the theme, to poems that seem to have forgotten there was a theme in the first place! Thank you all for trusting me with your work.
Please remember if your poem wasn’t selected, it doesn’t mean anything in terms of its quality. Some amazing poems didn’t make it into the book – there just wasn’t enough space for all of them.
Whatever the outcome, you are a poet – keep writing!