Labour or love, grief and minimum wage by M McCorquodale

I fall into these folds of labour
for love,
or minimum wage

And yet I do
not despise the filth
It has taken me so long
to remember
sharing baths
sharing too cramped flats
with too many mothers
and children
who could not see out side
of it.

I remember
huge pots of soup
feeding mouths
Grasping at cloth
In community halls
where other women
came to share grief
and we would
valiantly hold them up
with youth

Until my skin wrinkled
my body stopped growing
and I had to use my own
to learn the ways my body
in its own grief
while my youth
continues to destroy
My limbs
With minimum wage
priced out
of my wants and needs
by the labour
of just staying alive

I do not worry as I used to
But my body has held it all
in its confines
to exist like a fire alarm
when it smells smoke
Until I learn to take the batteries out.

M McCorquodale is a writer living in the Southside of Glasgow. M has performed spoken word frequently across Glasgow and Edinburgh. In 2018, her first poetry collection What I Told Frank was published. M is currently working on a novel. M’s writing focuses on telling stories surrounding mental health, identity, relationships, growing up and living in central Scotland and a healthy dose of punk.

Twitter: @ciderbams

Instagram: @ciderbams