A safe den

When my girlfriends come
we delineate our territories.
I build a fence with a cradle, two chairs and a stool,
a cut-out space that protects and defines
against trespassing.

Knitted blankets cover my baby dolls,
rags are my curtains.
I arrange kitchen tools and food toys in small plastic pots and pans,
pretend to warm a bottle with fake milk, no hole in the tit.

When everything is ready
we trade a camisole with a spoon and comb
or two small dolls against a big one.
I dress the dolls up, comb their hair.
Everything is neatly lined up,
Then we sit and wait,
rearrange our possessions and wait.

There is a gap right at the end of my compound,
between my side and my sister’s side,
we squeeze out and play hide and seek
abandoning our beloved things.



Carla Scarano D’Antonio obtained her Master of Arts in Creative Writing at Lancaster University and has published her creative work in various magazines and reviews. Her short collection Negotiating Caponata was published in July 2020. She is currently working on a PhD on Margaret Atwood’s work at the University of Reading. Website:  https://www.carlascaranod.co.uk/