NEVER LEFT THE IRON ON AGAIN
The first time you slapped me
I was telling you I took some Oxycontins
because everybody dies
and now is my time.
The last time my mother slapped me
it was because
I left the iron on, my head in the clouds,
thinking about something else,
didn’t hit the switch before I put on
my shirt, left the house for work.
She found the iron sitting on the board,
browning it’s triangle base onto the
heat-resistant fabric. What set her off
was that it wasn’t the first –
maybe the third or the fourth
time I’d done it; words alone didn’t work.
That night when I came home
she hit me so hard
left marks on my back
my dad cried. It was the last time because
not long after that
the cancer took her and she died
smiling at my dad
with childlike love in her eyes.
I never left the iron on again
and the house we couldn’t afford
never burnt to the ground.
When you slapped me the first time
It stung but I knew I found love.
First published in ZineWest 2019 print zine
Laila Nawsheen is a solicitor with a UTS BA in Communication (Creative Writing)