Today's poem is by Marilyn Longstaff

Opposite Freedom Fields Park, 1961

My mother, in a fit of whimsy, locked us out,

decided we should walk, like tradesmen,
down the full length of the terrace — front,
then back — to enter through the yard
and scullery, keeping the new hall carpet
pristine, child-free.

One day, so tired from grammar school,
I camped out on the front step, with my bags,
my gabardine mack folded like a cushion;
I rang, then rapped, then howled and cried, then sat —
a battle of wills I'd never win.

The minutes then the hours passed. Eventually,
hungry, broken, cold, I had to give in.

After some months, she altered the regime —
forgot, couldn't be arsed — picked some other
weird and wonderful, meaningless power ritual.
I chose defiance, Frank kept quiet, then left,
Howard fled the country.

What did I learn?
don't bother knocking
find another way in
power shifts
there are no rules worth keeping.

Copyright © 2017 Marilyn Longstaff All rights reserved
from Articles of War
Smokestack Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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