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The Director’s Cut of Philomela’s Tapestry

 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. 

Artwork by Aidan Davies

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