Pauline Rowe

Because we played Little Women at home.
Because I was never allowed to be Jo
Because my father slept in the shed.
Because my mother went to college.
Because I first read Blake when I was six.
Because my father had no ‘O’ levels.

Because we laughed at Britten’s Oberon.
Because his painted flesh was huge.
Because his high voice made me think of school.
Because your friend “simply adored Ferlinghetti”
Because I had to leave the table.
Because I had to hide away to laugh.

Because the wine was warm.
Because the conversation was low.
Because the eating of a paid-for meal was new.
Because I was dazzled by desire.
Because it was snowing and the fire was warm.
Because the lamp was lit, the room was safe.

Because the noise at home became too loud.
Because I was foolish, vain, unloved.
Because you were certain, gentle, funny.
Because your marriage was in tatters.
Because you knew what to do.
Because you needed to.

Because you told me I was everything.
Because I knew I was nothing.
Because I had a taste for it.

Because life is too short.
Because I was too short.
Because I was fifteen

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