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.