Universal Credit: the telephonist who works under 16 hours a week
Wednesday, 19 December 2018 05:52

Universal Credit: the telephonist who works under 16 hours a week

Published in Poetry

the telephonist who works under 16 hours a week

for Unite's day of action against Universal Credit, 1 December

by Martin Hayes

there is a hole in her hull
and she is tilting in the harbour,
unable to go out to sea any more,
because the captain abandoned ship
leaving behind two crew,
she is letting in water
and every month the hole just gets bigger.

she has a leaking hull
and she doesn’t know what to do,
the system doesn’t seem to want to allow her
to fix it,
because after she has paid for the mooring costs
and the interest on the loan she took out
to buy a new set of sails
there is never enough left over to buy
any wood and nails, tar and brushes,
that would help her patch it up, stem
the flow
of the water.

all she wants
is to become seaworthy again,
but it seems the system is designed
to make her wait,
to fill in form after form online
that no one ever answers,
causing her hole to get even bigger,
letting in more water,
ruining her furnishings
and spoiling all of the food on board
so that there is nothing left to sleep on
or eat anymore.

now that she is in this mess
the system doesn’t seem to want to allow her
to mend her hull
preferring instead
to make her wait under the harbour lights
not knowing what is going on
so that she tilts even more
until she finally takes on so much water
that she will go under
and sink to the bottom of the harbour
along with the rest of the wrecks.