Kaya Oakes – Victorians

Kaya Oakes


Do you remember working. Well.
A morning wasn’t, you didn’t think;
you went out. And it was cold there, would
you say you hated it. Hated.
It used to freeze your eyes shut, tears.
We didn’t know salt water. Got cut your blood
would freeze, your spit.

Your children. The morning was the worst.
Their arms were like that, repetition. What was left.
You call it working. But you weren’t alone. No,
not alone. It isn’t always there, when someone is.

Tell me about the city. There wasn’t one.
No hills no windows. No glass. What
did you see through. You saw through yourself.
Fourteen of us lived, out of seventeen or eighteen.
The luxury in that was leaving.

And then you came to the city. Then I came.
And you were better there, that’s not
a question, you already have the answer.
You can’t ask what you already know.

Alright, there were frames, and windows.
Explanations for things. Labor.
I taught Latin. The work never changed.
It was us being changed by it. And then you went
to Greece. I hated the ships. When we got to the Acropolis,
I laid down on the steps.

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