door locks checked a dozen times
blinds ever down, windows shut
every outside step
in synch with heart race
all creaks and groans sign home invasion
Avon, Mormons, charity callers
friends, relations knock in vain.
To venture out – a crazed ordeal:
bag clutched to chest, ears cocked
for any footstep heard behind �
evokes Dad’s stern words
Robbers are everywhere!
kitchen drawer taped shut
sewing box locked away
every point’s a needle
every blade’s a razor
cold glinting steel that pricks or slices
rips stay unsewn
bread is unspread
all craft uncut
since Mother’s stabbing words:
DON’T run with scissors!
eyes ever scan for specks, flecks, streaks, smears
hands never far from sanitiser
tables wiped hourly, rugs vacuumed daily (twice on Sundays)
to stem those germs that engender squalor.
Sick at the sight of takeaway tables
dizzy in the filth of playground equipment
sweat breaks out even in thought
of walking into a public toilet.
Life’s constant quest is sterility, purity
to heed Grandma’s litany:
Wash your hands! Change your socks!
Cleanliness is next to Godliness!
dare not dip, even a toe.
The devil-dark sea will pull you under
to stinging jellies and sharks that carve.
Oceans stir every sick’ning emotion.
Avoid the river: its death-white collar
of choking foam hides eddies
that suck life from every limb.
Stuck on land since fateful day
heart and feet left the ground:
pushed in black dam, fully clothed
at 7, with brother’s wicked taunt
Git in, chicken! Kick ya legs, ‘n’ swim!
The footy field; the mall; the city
ever unseen in favour of four walls.
The great outdoors gears panic attacks.
Market stalls and shops force ills.�
Crowds evoke no power to cope.
Throat is choked in stifling rooms
of judging eyes that seal escapes.
Keep away from queues, buses, trains
bridges, buildings, meetings:
all bring sweating, trembling, pains.
Public mixing, however fleeting
only home is safe, home is safe.