Conversation with a Cavewoman
No, we don’t get many sabre-toothed tigers,
food stores are reasonable at our local Tesco Extra,
my partner has no need for a spear or knife –
he uses a thing called a Mac to sustain his brood,
and firelighters, individually wrapped.
I have not lost any children to the cold or hunger –
nobody wants to take them in the night or kill them.
My milk didn’t dry up in a drought;
when our son had a cough we drove to the A&E in town
and didn’t have to wait long.
But I lie awake at night,
dread what I cannot stop.
My inability to forage, find fresh water or control my fears –
that my children will live like me, talk like me
be frightened of this world.
I worry I don’t show love as other people do,
that they will need pills or to pay someone
just to talk.
On days when the cloud-base is low, and the list
of what’s needed unravels, as I so frequently do –
I want to swaddle their peach skins
in animal fur, smother them with my scent –
have enough fuel to keep the fire strong
and the glow in their faces, knowing
I can take on the world.
Vic Pickup is widely published and a previous winner of the Café Writer’s competition, the 2020 Cupid’s Arrow Competition and shortlisted for the National Poetry Day #speakyourtruth contest. www.vicpickup.com.