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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 5: October 2020
Tanka Tale: 191 words
Author Notes: 47 words
By Claire Everett

Boxed In

 

the all and sundry
of what they once had...
a yard sale
with no takers,
a rag-and-bone love

Come rain or shine he’s out there, arms flailing as he brays. She’s too slow; she’s under his feet; she’s put the crate down in the wrong place; she’s an idiot, won’t she just get out of his bloody way?

If I happen to be passing I do my best to convey as much as I can in a gaze: get away while you’re still able, before you get too frail and the falls start, before he’s blocked the exit. She never looks at me but seems intent on the task of the day, shifting a plethora of stuff from A to B under the glowering cloud of his blame. Lately, she’s not so steady on her feet, having acquired a shuffling gait that belies her forty-something years.

Meanwhile, suburbia keeps its thin lips clamped shut. Sunday morning, the neighbour to their left ramps up the volume on Ode to Joy.

and in each pause
is it her flinch or mine?
my heart thuds
against the wall
of a former life


Author’s Notes:

1. The United Nations recently described the worldwide surge in domestic violence as a shadow pandemic [BBC News online: “Coronavirus: Domestic violence ‘increases globally during lockdown’” (11 June 2020)].

2. The UK’s first unique app to support people affected by domestic abuse: Bright Sky [Hestia.org]

Claire Everett
Issue 5, October 2020

is the author of two tanka collections, twelve moons and The Small, Wild Places; and co-author of Hagstones: A Tanka Journey with Joy McCall, and Talking in Tandem with her husband, Tony Everett. In 2017, Claire joined the editorial panel for the Red Moon Anthology. She served on the editorial team for Take Five Best Contemporary Tanka (Volume 4, 2011), and in 2015 she edited the Tanka Society of America’s Members’ Anthology, Spent Blossoms. She served as tanka-prose editor for Haibun Today [from December 2011 thru September 2016], and as founding editor of Skylark Publishing and Skylark: the journal [from the inaugural issue in April 2013 thru the final issue, Summer 2019].

Claire is mum to five children and step-mum to two and likes nothing better than to be cycling through the Dales with Tony on their trusty tandem Tallulah, or walking on the North Yorkshire Moors.

 
 
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