Spotlight: our Year 10 Sports Scholar Tara
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Behind the fence
Through the door
Into a red bricked house.
A man wearing tartan socks
Sits behind an oak table
At ten in the morning.
He’s looking at an online order
Due to come that day.
He sits on the wooden chair
On a cushion with yellow polka dots.
He scrutinises the screen
will there be enough baby food
For the baby crying upstairs?
Her eyelids clenched shut
Tears perched on brown lashes
Her face is red and angry.
The woman sits by the crib.
Her hair falls down past her shoulders.
Spidery and split ends
She no longer bothers
To style it into tight black curls.
Pyjama bottoms and a t-shirt
Advertising a band she doesn’t know
Replace her usual yellow dress.
The man downstairs makes coffee
It’s black because there’s no milk.
Then the toaster pops.
The man jumps.
He scolds himself.
The baby has gone quiet.
Except for her gentle snoring.
Lulled to sleep by
The woman without the yellow dress.
A flurry of fur panting excitedly.
The chunky collar around her neck says princess.
She runs downstairs with glee.
Even thought she’s quite aware
The only walk she’ll get is in the garden.
The man downstairs puts the brown bread
Back into the boxy brown cupboard.
Before he is knocked back
By a furry force of assault.
The man feeds the dog and walks upstairs.
The woman greets the man.
She is beside the baby’s crib.
Less restless now the baby’s fast asleep.
The woman goes downstairs.
She pets the dog.
Picks up the cup of coffee
And the slice of bread waiting for her.
The baby wakes up.
All brown eyes and cooing
No evidence of distress.
The man looks out the window.
He opens it.
The woman sits outside
With a cup of coffee and her panting dog.
And the air has never felt so clear.