when it began to get dark i realize this wasn’t no joke
standing at clapham common. we still didn’t have a place

moving round mum coat looking up at troubled voices
that had asked we two small girls break open our piggy

i wanted to find a goldmine in there, nuff brown coppers
to give us a home for the night. social services took us

to balham. more fretful hours in the warm waiting room.
would they rescue women and children first? leave us

fatherless for the night, waiting, falling asleep unsure of
the morning, who was in control, where to call home?

from connecting medium (Peepal Tree Press, 2001), © Dorothea Smartt 2001, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Dorothea Smartt in the Poetry Store

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