ONE POEM – Iona May

Photo by Photo Boards on Unsplash

Listen to this – 

I’m applying for a Teaching Assistant job
writing, ‘I will quietly break down information
into manageable chunks’. It brings my mum back
and she’s laughing at me, this could read like
you’ll quietly break down into tears. We’re both
laughing, yes employ me! I am highly qualified
in quietly breaking down! When did writing
become such a warm meeting place?
She used to tell me, your sentences
do not make sense. I’d tell her, your perfectionist
will haunt me forever, I will never forgive you.
Now, oh this dreaming into plausible lies, oh this
straying to absurdity. But is it too true mum?
When you were so sick, when you were just dead
was I breaking down? But so quietly because
who had time for the fuss? Maybe I was
fine but it’s too true of her body, quietly
breaking down while she focused on work
too much to hear it and she tells me, I blame
my perfectionist for my cancer, held-back
feelings trapped in my gut.




Iona May is a poet and performer based in Norwich. Clowning forms the basis of a lot of her work and she has trained in it for the past five years. She has been published by Gatehouse Press, The Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Demsey & Windle, Salo Press and Eggbox. She has performed in various venues around Norwich including The Garage Theatre. Her poems dwell on the beauty of human foibles, taking the trivial seriously and finding the ordinariness in catastrophe. Twitter @IonaMayPoet

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