Smile darling!

Do not tell me to smile;

My mouth is not yours to control,

My face is not yours to change,

My mood is not yours to own.


I do not belong to you and none

Of me is yours to take.

Neither do I need you,

Nor want you,

Nor know you.


I have enough friends and

I have had enough of you,

Your words in my ear,

Your fingers on my arm.


I am a person, not a puppet,

You are so, so wrong to think

That I owe you anything.


Never tell me it is lighthearted

When you get excited by the fear in my eyes.

If you have a daughter

I hope she never feels the same fear.



Cookie-cutter Children

Call him out of control

When you cannot control him

Tell him you are only thinking of his future

When the future you imagine for him is not his own

Repeat your mantra that you want the best for him

Without considering that it is subjective what that is.

Wonder why he turns away from you,

The mould that you push on him warping.


Every day and with every calculating word you stole part of me from me,

and you bore down on my mind until I came to fear my own thoughts.

Yet they still invaded my brain like dogged soldiers, as I waged a war against myself, fighting battle after battle that I could never win.

Shell-shocked, I felt nothing as you pushed me against the headboard, against the walls.

Always against what I wanted, but it was unclear what I did want.

As if I were rotting, I softened until you could reshape me, bending and twisting me into the image you had of the perfect girlfriend, presented and promised to you in glossy magazine pages.

It was after you went to prison for the final time that I realised how much you’d taken from me; I couldn’t get up by myself any more, even with the curtains open wide and the baby crying from his room.