The Wait – Rachael Clyne

The Wait

The image of a bleach bottle
at her lips, lingers in the room.
Its walls echo with car-crash sounds.
I feel the draw of a noose, her urge to jump.

Each week, she pleads to stay.
With fixed eyes, she forces me
to deny her, make her leave.
I cling to my professional chair.

She’s already had her week’s ration,
so pills are off the menu. I wonder
if she’ll be here next week, she asks
for a method that is certain. I am silent.

The crisis team can’t do home visits,
they too are in a critical state.
An overdose merits a day in A&E
then a cab, or a twenty-mile walk home.

Her GP has become a placebo
‘somehow they muddle through’,
he says. I know he cares, but like me,
must wait for her storm to break.


Rachael Clyne is widely published in journals. Her recent pamphlet, Girl Golem (4Word is about her migrant origins and sense of otherness. She is involved in climate activism and hopes the lockdown has changed our ways.

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