Poetry Drawer: I’m the Writer and the Woman Buying a Bus Ticket: Trauma by Jenny Middleton

I’m the Writer and the Woman Buying a Bus Ticket

Louder than the island’s traffic
cicadas’ shake a tinder percussion
from long, straying grass.

They are as unseen
as a writer, who
years away, will tap at a keyboard

and listen to a printer
scuttle over paper
in the hope of recapturing the fizz
of you and me waiting

for a bus amid buzzing
cicadas -burning with songs more
ancient than lyres
joking about the bus being as
mythical as Pegasus or Persephone

before scrunching the poem of it back
into the blankness of letters hissing
as they flicker out –
incompleting a neon cocktail sign
outside a city window, while miles away

your hand is still tightly holding mine
as we clamber aboard a bus
and pay drachmas for our tickets.


She has no words in school today.
To match, I make mine tiny,
firm stones; imperatives placed
next to pictures
to round their requests,

balancing the real on a surf of
swaying meaning. She responds,
tracing sounds to her own.

Reading opens and closes
its booked meanings. She decodes
words into elephants, heavy, andante,
stepping sense slowly from the page
to something
new from thumbed pages.

Her body folds beneath a uniform
of crumpled grey polyester,
as she hunches at the desk,
skin prickling with webbed scabs,
self-scratched; still raw, still red.

The bathroom’s razored blur
smudging at the back.

Jenny is a working mum and writes whenever she can amid the fun and chaos of family life. Her poetry is published in several printed anthologies, magazines and online poetry sites.  Jenny lives in London with her husband, two children and two very lovely, crazy cats.  You can read more of her poems at her website

You can find more of Jenny’s work here on Ink Pantry.

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