On the Edge
by Alexandra Carr-Malcolm

Your mother’s out dancing
and your father’s romancing
they can’t stand the sight
of the child that blights
the booze fuelled conscience
of a life that once was
a family affair.

You sit on the stairs
the silent sobs hurt
as your mum and your dad
on the phone fight like mad
for you cramp their style
all their hatred and bile
matrimonial war
they don’t want you
no more.

Another friend’s settee
another temporary home
your hair lank and greasy
only fingers for a comb
A lick and a spit
is all you can hope
last night’s kebab
cold water and soap.

Yesterday’s pants
under last week’s old clothes
is the scent that perfumes
your sad teenage nose
now you live from a suitcase
and you’re wearing your game face
stiff upper lip and don’t let the mask slip
through emotions on fire
until they enquire

How are you?

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me, at 17 (Chesterfield, UK, 1982).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My parents divorced when I was young. I lived with my father until he decided to remarry. As both parents had remarried there was no longer a place for me in either household. I spent several months sleeping on friends’ floors or settees until my college found out what was happening and helped organise lodgings.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alexandra Carr-Malcolm was born and raised in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. She now lives in Yorkshire and works as a freelance British Sign Language Interpreter within the Yorkshire region. She has been featured in many collaborative anthologies by Dagda Publishing, where part of the proceeds are donated to worthy charities.Her first anthology Tipping Sheep (the right way) was released in 2013. Her second anthology, Counting Magpies, was released in October 2015. Her poems can be found on her blog