Carol Ann Duffy

The Brink of Shrieks

         (for S.B.)

Don’t ask me how, but I’ve fetched up
living with him. You can laugh. It’s no joke
from where I’m sitting. Up to the back teeth.

That walk. You feel ashamed going out. So-and-so’s
method of perambulation, he calls it. My arse.
Thank God for plastic hips. He’ll be queuing.

And the language. What can you say? Nothing.
Those wee stones make me want to brain him,
so they do. They’re only the tip of the iceberg.

Time who stopped? says I. Ash-grey vests,
you try cleaning them. Heartbreaking. Too many nights
lying in yon ditch, counting. God’s truth, I boil.

See him, he’s not uttered a peep in weeks,
And me? I’m on the brink of shrieks.