Number Twenty-Five

Number Twenty-Five crouches over, knobbly spine swaying with the rhythm of the slight breeze. In his hand he holds a pair of scissors; not the kind you’d normally see in the hands of a gardener, mind you.

These are the type of scissors I remembered buying for my son when he started Prep, the ones with thick, brightly coloured, easy-grip handles and soft-curved blades that struggled to cut a single sheet of paper unless you stuck your tongue out at just the right angle.

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Shame

He said // This is your fault.
It was twenty-three years ago.
When I tried to speak dirt choked my
throat
so I lay on the forest floor
a summer storm cooling the earth
and I was quiet
as he destroyed me.

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Good Mothers with Bad Thoughts: A Review of ‘The Push’ by Ashley Audrain

Are you a good mother? It’s a question that I’ve asked myself many times over the last 15 years, and the answer has changed more times than I’d like to admit.

It was just past seven on the morning of April 24th when the warm, wriggling body of my daughter was placed on my chest. A Monday; the start of a new week and the beginning of my life as a mother. Her waxy, wrinkled skin felt alien on my breast, and as she scrunched her eyes, adjusting to this new world of light and sound she squawked, loudly. The sound rattled down my spine, terrifying me to the very marrow of my bones.

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I Want You to Panic

‘When you’re asleep, you lose your sense of smell,’ the firefighter explained. ‘That’s why smoke alarms are important; without them, you won’t smell the smoke. If you don’t smell the smoke, you’ll feel the fire. Girls and boys, if that fire creeps up on you, you’ll be dead. Too late, game over. When you hear that smoke alarm beep-beep-beepin’ – girl, you’d better sit up and take notice before it’s too late. You gotta wake up. Do you hear me girl? You better wake the hell up.’

‘Anna! WAKE. UP.’

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