Chain Reaction

His incarceration

leads to eviction

for her      and their toddler.

Family move her closer

to where he is held.


Without warning

he is transported

to a distant prison.


She cannot visit

until others are free

to take her:

pressure on them


never time alone

with her man.


Limited funds

and benefit mix-ups

leave her with little food

and nothing to finance

his necessities at ‘buy-ups’.


She visits friend after friend

he phones where she has been

finds she has moved on:

one of his two precious calls

per week      wasted.


He is tense      confused

fears the loss of his family.

She is angry      unavailable

and her landlord

becomes demanding.


She      their son      and

unborn child

face homelessness

for the second time

in as many months


and there are four months pending…


c. Kathryn Coughran


First published: 1994

In: Family Matters

(Kathryn Andersen)

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