Autumn 2007 Poetry Competition Second Prize

Budgeting: February 1963

by Carol Wolrich



Making two ends meet around the other

side of a long week, without fraying,

or losing the hungry threads. Nudging

this debt into tomorrow, because yester­-

day is about to knock, and there's no

time to hide the boys in silence. Besides,

the glass in the front door is clear

enough to see through your excuses.


So you will forget about new stockings,

which is no great hardship, these days;

with Saturday night's ironing stacked

against your dreams of dancing. The fire

strains, at its lowest ebb, sapped by

the power-drain on the National Grid,

when you hear on the wireless that a

sad lady poet has taken her own life:


Just thirty-one with two small children.

You have three, including the baby.

You weep into your frightened hands.

Isolated with no phone. Hours to endure

before he comes home, in the dark.

You steal from the rent to feed the meter.

Music follows the news, and a song

reminds you to remember - summer.


 ©2007 Carol Wolrich

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