My Void Year
by Kate Fox
I am waved off by a conga line
outside the job centre
someone asks me to bring back a noose
woven in Inca colours
I am helping the local economy by
feeding my electric meter as if it is
a one armed bandit
and sending postcards from the Social Security office
where I take numbered tickets to enter
a raffle I never win.
Sometimes they send cheques
I don’t say thank you for
as if it’s birthday money from an absent parent
I think is the least they should give.
I go on day trips to my bedroom and spend
hours balancing my broken bed
on different combinations of books.
I meet like-minded people existing in
novels and can’t afford the library fines.
Some parents cover their children
like a duvet
or a sniper
but I am untethered as a bat-shaped kite
a child has let go of on purpose
because it is embarrassed.
Kate Fox is a stand-up poet, writer and BBC Radio 4 regular. She’s been Poet in Residence for the Great North Run and the Glastonbury Festival and originally trained as a radio journalist, working in Yorkshire and the North East. She has toured comedy shows all over the country and is also an experienced speaker, live literature producer and creative writing and performance facilitator. This poem is from her collection Fox Populi, Smokestack Books, 2013.
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