All things women!

I have three poems published in this American book – a highly respected quarterly called ‘Minerva Rising.’ I am proud to be in the ‘Women’s suffrage’ issue 20 for Fall (Autumn) 2021.

I will upload the poems themselves, as it’s hard to get a copy in the UK.

Stepping Out On Derby Day.

The moment before I stepped out,

Time arrested;

I saw the future played out before me

like a news reel;

like the life I would not live.

All sound stopped.

There was no chattering crowd,

jostling for a space against the fence.

I did not hear

crashing iron hooves,

or feel the ground’s vibration 

rise up through my feet,

and into my chest

to compete with my dancing heart,

and the sound of blood pounding 

through my swimming head.

The air sizzled with static,

as if earth were anticipating; 

bracing for impact.

There was no question

of waiting;

we were meant to meet-

the horse and I-

on this unexpected battlefield.

Not a drawn-out fight;

an almighty explosion of light

and sound, thundering down,

to plough me to the ground,

its rippling body tearing 

into mine.

One small step for woman

to change the course of time.

Dysmorphic 

Nobody hates me more than

my own worst enemy.

Can’t even cry;

don’t want to say.

My face in the back of a spoon,

upside-down, reflected back, distorted,

like a clownish cartoon.

Huge-eyed fly can’t settle.

Magnified five times,

I disappear.

Examine fine lines

that turn into crevices 

hiding secrets.

Like thin, grey elastic,

I am over-washed;

over-stretched.

Tiny fibres spring loose and fray,

Pinging coils like serpent tongues.

The mirror sends back distress signals,

warping flesh into dough,

spilling out, 

when only yesterday,

bones jutted like 

splayed rudders.

No anchor. Sharp thought assaulted,

whip-lashed by bright white spikes.

Bed of nails, grown numb,

So over-used.

Perhaps hide, wrapped within 

my thick, black habit, 

While this disease

brings me to my knees.

Silence the swarming

crackle of brain on fire,

dragging disorder into chaos.

One last black look

before I head off.

Coroner rules Avon and Wiltshire trust failed in the care of Natasha Abrahart

Neglect by a mental health trust contributed to the suicide of a Bristol University student with severe social anxiety who was found dead on the day she was due to take part in a “terrifying” oral test, a coroner has ruled.

After the inquest, Abrahart’s parents also blamed the university, claiming it failed to put in place measures to help their daughter even though staff knew for six months that she was struggling.

Natasha

They wonder what her future would have been.

Two grey warriors for justice

carry their evidence in a plastic bag;

fight for what is right;

consumed by pain’s white heat,

trying to reconcile love with loss.

Torments them, the unwritten script:

Scientist; Woman; Mother? Wife?

An empty hole;

An unlived life.

Grief meets Anger;

unravelling tangles,

uncovering the scandal

of how she asked for help,

which did not come.

Even justice stings;

They scarcely stand, diminished.

Her room a mausoleum of dust, untouched.

In the corner, a pink teddy bear;

a cello with a broken string.

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