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Mar 2018
My mum tells me to be careful as I close the front door
Every footstep the tick of a bomb about to go off
And I know that she will worry until she hears me return
That maybe this time I wasn’t careful enough
But I know Careful
Careful is a woman who walks in our skin when the door shuts behind us
Faceless and watchful
With keys jammed between each finger
And her honey voice is flowing through a perpetual conversation with the home screen of her phone
Her gait wide and her hood up,
hair down but tucked away
She never looks up
only shifts her eyes from left to right on a pendulum trajectory determined to read the cadence of the shadows
Like they are palms or tea leaves or a CCTV in operation sign on the front of a shop window
On the walk home
She is always moving
A waterfall rushing down the steepest drop to get back home with all her foundations in tact
Careful is always waiting for the other shoe to fall
She is texting texting texting details of her plans
Where she has been
where she is going
what is the license of the taxi she is in
Are the doors locked as soon as she shuts them?
How salty is too salty for a margarita or a tequila or a glass of water
Can anyone vouch for the milliseconds that her drink was out of her sight?
She has a  pair of earphones attached to nothing jutting from her ears
and her key clawed hands wrapped tightly around a can of pepper spray
And her car is parked right outside the building
Careful is always a woman living in a war zone
where the enemies can be the ones that she has trusted most
Or strangers that cast long shadows
She is a landmine that is always in danger of being stepped on
She is made into a three star salad that the jury reject because she was underdressed
Overexposed like the photos that Careful should never have sent
Because even she knows that she cannot exist
A woman is always careful
But never careful enough.
Suzanne S
Written by
Suzanne S  Ireland
   SJ and ---
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