My Imaginary Kids - Naoise Gale

Sometimes I imagine myself with a husband

Who puts the kids to bed and pours me a

Glass of red wine and makes my toes curl

Into the flesh of the furry white rug. He is

Dark and skinny, kind-eyed, and his arm

Around my shoulder is like a barricade

Between me and the rest of the world; he

Locks in the badness that seeps from me

Like thick black gunge, like knife-fight blood,

Like green pus from an itchy open wound.

There are three kids: two girls, one boy.

They are factitious and funny and not

At all fragile. I spend my days baking butterfly

Buns and designing colourful murals for

Their bedroom walls. This dream is not a

Dream but a series of still images which

I hide from the dark part of me, the gut,

The multi-tentacled aching for something

More than this. The part of me that writes

Poems and take drugs and lies butter-soft

On the carpet, not in post-coital bliss but in

Another layer of heavenly chemical euphoria.

Maybe I will have kids from a one-night-stand

Or a sperm donor, save a man from hurting

With me, and maybe I will raise them right

And tuck them in and plant mosquito kisses

On their tiny heads, but I’m sure once they

Are asleep, the bottle of wine will be emptied

And the prescription bottle open, and when

They search for me in the night, seeking

Comfort and protection from brain-monsters,

I will be so zonked out they won’t be able to

Rouse me, and they will learn to soothe

Themselves before they should have to.

The teachers will talk about us and there

Will be special meetings, wary glances from

The other perfumed mothers, visits from

Social services. My kids will be tough, sadly,

And more broken even than me.

Naoise Gale is a part-time poet and Modern Languages student who writes about mental illness, autism, addiction and eating disorders. She was runner up in the Parkinson's Art Poetry Competition 2020, and has been published by various magazines including Cephalo Press, Anti Heroin Chic, Rabid Oak, Divergent and Cobalt.

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