The teen mothers are pushing prams downtown.
The fathers come
only when they want more. Otherwise
the mothers hope for nothing, expect
less. They minister to each other
in the cafes on the edges of estates.
They cross the river aboard the X factor,
they do all they can to stay afloat-
they phone in, vote
for the smooth-faced boys.
Their spiteful prattle is pre-ordained,
riding in from Manchester on the train.
They shop, too poor to shop.
Their mothers want to tell them something,
but can’t quite find the words.

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