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It took two bus rides to get to Matlock.

 

Panda eyed from stress and tears,

sofa surfing for days on end,

dirty, tacky, no baths,

just a lick and a spit at a strange sink.

 

Sat in a faceless office,

corporate men in their three piece suits,

reeking of gout, and blue with smoke,

lascivious, avuncular, pat on the hand.

 

You are sitting on a goldmine, one smirks.

Find yourself a rich sugar daddy.

Janis Joplin sings Summertime in my head,

as the fluorescent tubes buzz in harmony.

 

Parents in absentia,

humiliation and fear sting,

all this to get an education,

no give and take – no grant.

 

Decades on – I got my education,

 

With two kids in tow,

all off my own back, not needing

honey traps or gold spider’s webs,

I look back – I want to say –

 

I pity your wives and daughters!

Did you make them turn tricks,

to pay their way?

Or did you prey on school girls

to make your day?

 

Absentia by Alexandra Carr-Malcolm

2016

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