Anna Teresa Slater: “Forty-Two”


Milk, mum, nappies, mum, milk, sometimes dad,
blanket wrap, a squeezy duck,
a twinkling tin can with useful words:
tears   broken window   not that,
elephant-shaped milk chocolate cornflakes,
please, something to make them stop.
Pimple-popping machine, mouth filter,
box wine, a joint, true love’s kiss,
that boy at the dance, a seventh chance,
condoms, pepper spray, ice pack,
an eraser to rub it all out,
sometimes dad to hold me up.

A passport, yen, rubles, rupees, pounds,
a real reason to go home,
black coffee, god, Simone de Beauvoir,
a self-slap, a megaphone,
a forgiving church, a midday nap,
a warning before the call.

Old photos of them, alive and young,
something else to hold me up,
hair dye, another day, midnight song,
milk tea, Tao Te Ching, white lies,
a twinkling tin can with useful words:

Accept  Let go   It’s okay.


Anna Teresa Slater is a high school literature and drama teacher from the Philippines and is a postgraduate student in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. Four of her poems have been published in a local anthology and she has two poems in an online protest lit repository. She lives on a farm with her husband, dog, and cat.

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