Robert Warrington

Frightened Boy

Frightened boy
trying to join the library
Damp palms
Pounding heart
Legs won’t carry him to the counter
Frightened boy
trying to empty the kitchen bin
It means leaving the flat
Waves of panic
Frightened boy
trying to go to the shop
Another counter
Another person to deal with
Frightened boy
Second attempt
to join the library
Panic attack
in the women’s section
Frightened boy
trying to sleep
Lying there
pouring sweat
Frightened boy
afraid to go to the post office
to cash his giro
in case they think
he doesn’t deserve it
Frightened boy
back in the library
fingers fumbling
fuming pages
of 1970’s feminism
Frightened boy
Legs still won’t carry him to the counter
Thought he might be
third time lucky
but he wasn’t

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