by Hattie Scott
Philomela stitched the gender pay gap
with gold and silver threads
interrupting the silver with the gold
but never the gold with the silver, savouring
the flight of an art that sings stories
not of two sisters waking up early
to catch an episode of Tracy Beaker,
huddled up in blankets and shivering with laughter
as penguins swimming in pixels, gobbling cereal.
Not of evenings waiting to be picked up from school
the streets misty like milky white fish,
sirens luring in early criminals and premature heists
mixing with icecream vans retiring
from the cooling streets, frostings
whipped up with cigarette smoke.
Not of essential meetings in the dead of the night
under hushed torchlight, beaks touching as they
discussed plans in fluttering darkness
of grand escapes, adventure and secret codes.
Not the pigeon that cooed outside their window
every morning harmonising with the whirring shower,
or the tittering of their mother up at dawn
while they were birds who never caught the worm.
Philomela has no time to stitch these things
so instead her needle soars and swoops the story
of golden men ramming their grubby fingers
in the honey jar to grope the organs
of the other woman shimmering in saliva.