Single Mum

I know I am
your single mum.
Your friends have
dads and you tell me
often, that
you feel like
a stranger in your
own social circle.
It must be hard to
be a leper in
a land of dual
parenting,
and paternal genetics.
Happy, wholesome
smiling family snaps,
when you live in
a testosterone
depleted zone.

It wasn’t always
faux joy selfies,
just the two of us.
Conquering the world
with our Colgate smiles
and mum-son
bonding.
Looking like
the world was made
for just us two,
and fleeting glimpses
cannot magic
fathers’ faces
on iPhone imagery.

I am not in
the land of
mice nor men.
If I could conjure up
the ideal role model,
I would paint your
life with
gentle men and
honest souls
and the heart of
a saintly martyr.
Knights fighting fearsome
dragons and
brave soldiers
(camouflaged anxiety)
dedicating their lives
to an ethical cause.

I cannot raise
fathers from the dead.
It is hard enough to
keep memories alive
when they are stored
deep within my mind,
and not yours.
But one day you
will understand that
once upon a time,
there were three
of us.
Not this brave
little duet.

Sarah Drury 2021

To the Misogynists

When I had a lengthy spell in hospital, many years ago, I was very poorly. I was on what is known as a ‘one to one’, which meant I had to have a nurse with me at all times. One evening, whilst sitting in my room watching TV with the staff nurse, he turned around and said to me, “you know that people like you should never have children, right??” Those words really hurt me and he should never have said that. I am now, many years later, mother to a son with Autism, and although i have times when I struggle with my mental health, my son has helped me stay as sane as I possibly can because I am all he’s got after his father died. He keeps me strong, and was a turning point in my life after many years in psychiatric hospitals.

I wrote this poem about the nurse’s cruel words.

Just because
Mental illness blights
My fragile mind
Just because
My soul travels
In divergent dimensions
Gives you
no fucking right
To play God
Or Hitler
With my right to
Bear child

Casting aspersions
Of prejudice
You broke me
May as well
Rip out my womb
And gift my ovaries
To the mentally stable
Yet barren

Mothers are born
Not made
Merciless are your
Arrogant aspersions
As callous words
Plummet in placentas
Of castigation
Blood staining
Your misogynist shoes

My right to
Bear child
Never smashed by
The patriarchy
Will be

I pray the vitriolic men
Within whose care
Rest women vulnerable
And broken
Embrace humanity
Whilst the tongues
Of those ridiculing
My maternal potential
Are bound in
Repentance
Regret
and
Retribution

©2020 Sarah Drury

Childline Lockdown

With the Coronavirus lockdown, children are at even greater risk of abuse. This could be emotional, mental, sexual or physical, but a lot of the reports the NSPCC are getting are related to emotional abuse. It is proving harder for social workers to gain access to homes due to lack of personal protective equipment, social distancing and lack of staffing.

NSPCC can be contacted here:0808 800 5000 or via help@nspcc.org.uk

Here’s a poem I wrote through the eyes of a victim.

Childline Lockdown

I don’t know what
I did wrong
Cooped up
24 hours a day
Radio blaring
Incessantly
Happy people singing
Bullshit songs
To people in
Their bullshit lives
Abusive husbands
Battered wives
Shit scared kids
As tempers fry
And swift fists fly
And I swallow all
My tears
Cos if I cry
He will get angry
Again I’m
In enough
Fucking pain

I have a friend
I call him Ted
He’s been with me
Since I was two
Keeps the monsters
Out from under
The bed
Soaks up the blood
When my dad
Sees red
But it’s the monsters
In the daytime
I’m really scared of
I call them dad
And mum

Social workers
Knocking on the door
But mum knows how
To play it
Long sleeves
Hide the bruises
Walked into the door
Hit my head
On the table
So careless
One day I’d probably
End up dead
Social worker suspicious
But dad always says
I was clumsy

Ted understands me
I can tell him
Anything
When dad is
Screaming
Temper raging
Ted helps me to sing
Over the Rainbow
If I had a phone
Then I would ring
Childline
But it’s the fists
I fear

And it’s a long time
Till I am sixteen
Then I will tell
Them all
To fuck themselves
That day I’ll
Be queen
In my own kingdom
And there’ll be no
Fists for bombs
No ‘what did I do
So fucking wrong?’
And I will shine
That day
Like a
Rainbow

©2020 Sarah Drury

Bad Bottle Mum

I have only one child, and when he was born, he had breathing difficulties and was in the NICU for a week. I tried desperately for days to breast feed him, and nothing came. My baby was obviously starving and i decided to throw down the gauntlet and ask for a bottle. The nurses basically treated me like shit but my baby was happy, and we never looked back. Yes, breast is probably best, but we shouldn’t be made to feel inadequate it it doesn’t work out for some reason.

Bad Bottle Mum

I’m a bad bottle mum
I tried, my love, I tried
I held you close ‘til you latched on
But you cried for days
Little jewels of hunger
And frustration
You cried
Your rosy lips trying to
Suckle a miracle out of a
Dried up tit
My nipples were sore and cracked
As you latched your little jaw
And sucked
Like you’d never been
Fucking fed
And you hadn’t
My mammary glands were
Dead

I’m a bad bottle mum
The midwives said persevere
The milk would come
But four whole days
Of drought
And I had a newborn babe
With a nipple with nowt
Coming out
Who thought a tit
Meant starvation
And I had another tit that had
Shrivelled up in desperation
Nipples cracked and chewed up
Like an old dog bone and
I don’t like to moan
But I had a fucking starving
Kid here

After four days
I put my tits away
Asked for the bottle
Little old nurse with grey Hair
Gave me the
‘Are you a bloody idiot’ stare

I’m a bad bottle mum
That was when it started
The attitude, the negative cold
And frosty voice
The frozen, hard faced nurses
Thrusting tiny bottles of
Cow and Gate gold
Cos I was a fucking criminal
And no one told
Me it was ok
Cos breast is best and yeah, it is
But when the nurses are an army
And when your tits are traitors
And not
Doing their bit for the allies
When do you surrender?

And my babe did fine
He preferred the steady stream
Of liquid gold
To a titful of promises
Lies we were told
By the media
Progaganda
And he thrived

© 2020 Sarah Drury

Suckle

I was thinking about how wonderful breasts are. They nurture babies, look great on our chests, are soft and yielding to touch, take us back to our childhoods. They are a symbol of power, a symbol of comfort, a symbol of motherhood. They are fantastic!

Suckle

Come suckle
At my breasts
Feast upon
Tender nipples
That once beguiled
My hungry baby’s
Rosebud lips
My breasts
That once
Had aspirations
To feed
One of a nation
But my barren breasts
No milk would yield

Come suckle
At my breasts
Behold the
Soft, sweet flesh
That kneads like
Sweet, warm playdough
In a toddler’s palm
Tell me that
They possess
enchantment
Devour me slowly
Ease me, tease me
Free me
From my
Mortal shackles
Dulcify the stress
Release
Angelic devilry

Come suckle
At my breasts
Behold how fucking
Great that women
Have these awesome
Symbols of matriarchy
Women envied by
The ravages
Of patriarchy
Sexualised and
Victims of misogyny
Now standing proud
And rising up
The hierarchy

But what straight guy
Doesn’t want
To nestle in
A bosom tender
Inhaling sweet beJesus
Virgin Mary
Tends his
Comfort moments
Render
Memories
Wishing perchance
To slumber
Cossetted
Like babes
Nostalgic
Suckling at
Their mother’s breast
In blissful
Reverie

© 2020 Sarah Drury