welcome home, starling

you are safe now

The Policeman Hopes

The Policeman Hopes

Jay has been promoted out of putting
the uniform on in the morning. Now it

knots itself into his tie or folds itself into
his pocket with his badge. The uniform

makes promises so Jay usually finishes
work late. Each evening he calculates

whether his daughter should be coaxed
into bed without him. She has enough

trouble sleeping that once she’s down
he can’t check on her without waking her.

He’s read plenty of books on childhood
development and he can sense each lost

hour of sleep dropping off the value of her
future. A woman is waiting for Jay

in an interview room. She does not expect
him to make good on the promises

made by the uniform but here she is,
each breath a psych-up ready to pull

herself through his questioning, a cup
of tea and the the unpicking of her intimate

hell to find something he can try to spool
into evidence. Jay gathers himself

to talk to her. Looks at the clock. Stops
in the hallway to text his mother in law.

He wants an adulthood for his daughter where
she’s never exhausted. He can’t imagine it.


Anna Kahn is a member of the Roundhouse Collective and is in her second year as a Barbican Young Poet. She lives in London with two cats and one human. By day she works in tech doing something largely inexplicable. You can find her on Twitter and her website.