SAFE SPACES

There’s a photograph somewhere,

In some old photo album,

Perhaps it was once framed,

Or maybe it never existed at all.

 

There’s a girl.

Foetal position.

Asleep.

In a cardboard box.

 

The sides of the box bend outwards,

Distressed by the intrusion.

Somebody put a blanket over her,

Or perhaps she took it in herself.

 

There’s another picture;

Immortalised on the internet,

Seen by 400 people who don’t care,

Or not seen at all.

 

The girl smiles from her cardboard home.

Knees pushed into her neck.

Crushed toes.

She brought the blanket in herself.

 

People pretend to laugh

With blank faces on the other end of a screen.

Snoring.

The box threatens to split down the sides.

 

There’s no picture of the next scene

Just a memory,

From two angles.

Or maybe only one remembers.

 

The girl is under a table,

And nobody can see her.

She sniffs and wipes her face.

Intrusion.

 

Arms wrapped around her legs.

Tight.

She doesn’t feel it.

She cannot explain herself.

 

The girl is naked in an unknown room.

There is nobody there to observe.

There is only her.

No need to smile for the camera.

 

She takes a blanket from the floor;

Someone else’s floor,

Someone else’s blanket,

Someone else’s intrusion.

 

She curls up on the bottom shelf

And shuts the cupboard door.

It’s not as safe as her cardboard home,

But she has nowhere else to go.

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