A dreary house, the weedy lawn. An ageing mother. Father absent. Me, playing
alone in the near-empty room. Cold, toys strewn; noise. Thud, thud, thud the beast
cometh. Don’t you misbehave or it’s the ironing cord for you. Thwack. Thwack.
Thwack. My tears fall into nothingness. At school fear carries for the best behaved
child; excellent report cards or the beast will come. Daren’t take school friends
home. Every week to Sunday School, an award. Netball training Wednesday nights
in the park, a best and fairest. Otherwise live in library books in fantasy lands. What
a wonderful mother you have. The beast scares the bejesus out of me. It’s time to
get a job. No plans; no ambition. Weird & strange, never hear from school friends,
no netball or church, just books. I need money; never coming back. Sit an exam;
become employed—don’t connect to people. Out renting; freedom from the beast.
Time, but the weirdness stays, I become relaxed & free. Join a group and sing the
blues. Is the beast a sad old lonely woman who has led a lonely lonely life? I’m not
six any more.
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Jennifer Gleeson is an Australian poet, resident in Townsville. She attends Writers in Townsville meetings and activities. Her posts at Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.