Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

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It creeps up on me.
Too calm this morning in the car,
you were all sitting perfectly.
A quick kiss goodbye
but you needed another,
a tease
turned into a game, then scatter
as if someone flicked a switch
you were running
two back down the stairs
one on the top step crying.

I didn't tiptoe warily enough
I forgot to check the label, volatile
explosives, slippery as fish
and no one is listening.

The bomb squad needs a cool head
a steady hand, but I begin to simmer,
stomp from one incident to the next
hiss 'settle down' through gritted teeth
yank them back to the top of the steps
make my getaway, weeping to the shops,
drive too fast, blame everyone but myself.

Kate Fernyhough is a mother of three, living in Darwin, North Australia. She grew up in England and studied art at Reading University (1984-88). Writing has become more important since the birth of her twins five years ago. Painting requires space and a block of free time; writing can be done anywhere. This year Kate has had work published in two anthologies: Short and Twisted and Whatever – More Territory Treasures (writing for children).

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