Personality Disorder


I need to say this

though you’re six years dead,

though your lover’s retired

from the operating theatre.


She won her knowledge

in the manner of privilege

like stolen carrion

from a 3 week training stint

on a psych ward –

preferred stitch-up medicine.


About me and my scars,

you were both wrong.


My personality is as ordered

as a breviary


it sings Lord of the Dance

every time it remembers death


recites the Quadratic formula

each blue morning –


it’s as ordered as a heart

that’s been broken

by Antarctic parents

then glued together

with the drool of donkeys

by Betsy Trotwood.


My obese personality

is an anarchist on Fridays.


It collects rejections,


them when asleep

into Cornell shadow boxes,

and divining rods

made from twigs

and acorn caps.


It refuses to smoke

adulterated tea or wear a cow-bell.


It tolerates insults, limericks

and text messages from institutions.


People say my personality

has nice hair because

it makes rug mats

out of vows, confesses more

perfectly than a scalpel –


it knows what it doesn’t know,

and keeps its mouth shut

like a locked door

on an acute ward.


© Pauline Rowe



Mrs L’s Dream of Home


It was a magic trick you did, the chicken brick ,

the pine dresser in the tiny kitchen, the blue and white

Habitat apron on the back door, a full collection of

blue Cookery volumes collected every week to make you

a perfect wife while the man did his shifts to bring home the bacon.


Yet I was the perfect wife, missing school to let you live out

a dream on my skin,  as I lay still  looking at the print

of a girl with a pearl earring on the Council House wall

as you promised me a home and told me we should keep

this secret until you were ready to make your escape.


© Pauline Rowe