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Patrick Roberts: a poem

The Surety

My brother begins to find that collar

a greater effort to wear Then the morning

the pale-faced daughter And where God

Of course they can't stay children forever But

he didn't realise that nine would be such a shift

At the school gate he watches her walk differently

Sometimes her diary sings As though he should read it

The names in pink on her pencil case

When do they become violent When does he protect her

He puts her in the bath at half-six and talks her day over

Top of her class But her questions

and the way that she frowns keep him awake

Which boy was it How the growth so unknown

Her small body is marshland to pain

Her mother chill with disinterest

Then the evening return Anastacia crouched

at the top of bare wooden stairs The knife in her hand

Patrick Davidson Roberts was born in 1987 and grew up in Sunderland and Durham. He was editor of The Next Review magazine 2013-2017, co-founded Offord Road Books press in 2017 and reviews for The Poetry School. He is the author of The Mains (Vanguard Editions, 2018). In 2019 he ran All My Teachers, an all-women reading series.

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