woman in the lines

some days it is all you are
a shine of starch
lacquered on the inside

boots scuff hallways
long-laced veins
pull end of ties

torment or discipline
let the difference be trained
toes grip tight
to an orderly ledge

what irks us is right
left then right again
we fast on defiance
burn of the old thread

just the same
I raised my right hand
to iron out the sting
the cheek of my mouth

far away as home
we rhymed on a pull-through
winged sheets
fold and folded again

beneath the camouflage
our sights wiped clean

Ellen Shelley


Ellen likes to read at poetry at the pub in Newcastle. She is a member of HWC and FAW. She has been published in numerous anthologies and has won a prize in GRIEVE.

© 2019