How do you split a washing machine down the middle? – Natalie Scott

How do you split a washing machine down the middle?

We’ve been told to divide items equally.
Fairly. Nothing about this seems fair.

Punching numbers on a calculator
works fine if we see the figures

not what they mean. Our equal halves
of the stock, or the shared life

we accumulated over twenty years?
We talk so readily of our ‘other half’

that we believe we can’t be whole
on our own. Some things just don’t split

down the middle. Apparently, we do.
But what about the toaster, the oven,

the kettle? We can take an axe to them.
Or not. Either way we get burned.

I feed sheets into its seething mouth.
Speechless. I watch them turn,

imagining a frothing fissure line
between your side and mine.

Natalie Scott is an internationally published poet and Creative Writing lecturer. Her latest award-winning collection Rare Birds – Voices of Holloway Prison, published by Valley Press on International Women’s Day, 2020, received ACE funding for a West End performance.

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