Tuesday, 04 February 2020 11:22

Universal Credit

Written by
in Poetry
248
Universal Credit

Universal Credit

by Craig Campbell

The women and men of the government ark,
File us onto a grey sofa.
Like a dead whale.
A name badge says Brenda:
Speaks my number.
I am binary.
I am poverty.
I am shame.

Her false nails tap on the Perspex desk,
Drums the rain dance.
It'll be torrential for rent and for food this summer.
I didn't apply
For that job
In the abbatoir.
Even those in wheelchairs can slash with a cleaver.

Brenda:
With the smell of a degree gone to waste,
Stands up, feels...
Bitter at the the hobnails,
The rattlers,
Young mothers on their phones with ten kids to the rafters.
Would address them all in a radio voice.
But her power is all artifice.
A whispered noise.

I notice lipstick on her teeth.
A faded mark
Like a shark's tooth
On her index finger.
An engagement gone wrong in the nineties era.

It's a long time,
Since romance
Or flowers were planted here:
The sanctions
The alkalines:
Are no good for the soil.

Read 248 times Last modified on Tuesday, 04 February 2020 11:29
Craig Campbell

Craig Campbell is a freelance writer from Hartlepool.