When I clean my teeth, there are only two toothbrushes in the holder.
They are orange and lime green; bright,
but not so conspicuous as
the two empty slots in-between them.

The washing machine has only been on twice
this week.
Only twice.
In a full week.

The shopping bill is half what it used to be
and the fridge is never full.
Stuff would get thrown away
if it was.

Only the top two placemats of the pile in the middle of the table
get used.
They are of the wipe-clean kind,
but I don’t really need to any more.

The television isn’t set to MTV or Netflix
when I turn it on,
and the volume is never higher than

Cushions remain in place on the sofas.
The cupboards are full of clean cups,
the drawers of forks,
and teaspoons.

‘The dream!’ everyone says. ‘Bliss!’
‘Yes!’ I say. ‘Time for us at last!’
And I go home to defrost two pork chops in the microwave
just so I can hear the ping.

‘Materfamilias’ by Gail Wright received a Special Mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (July 2020) judged by Terry Jones.

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