Don’t open the door in your slip, Mum, no matter the salesmen smile. Each tooth bared in their mouths is a dagger in our hearts. You never buy but still they call. We even hid the bell; they whoop through the letter box. Their shadows through the window climb the hall.
Don’t baby that joint up your blouse, Mum, a potato’ll do us just fine. Baked, buttered, salted, we’ll eat well for England. The butcher looking and a rib pushing out between your buttons. The butcher and his dog have the same narrowed eyes, the same pant.
Don’t get up to take us to school, Mum. The wind’s blowing freezing, the sky looks like rain. Let the poor dads stay in their nice dry cars, the mums at the gate keep their furnace faces turned inside. You tuck yourself properly in, Mum. Turn the radio up.