I Stop Wearing the Mini-skirt, 1972

by Patricia Wooldridge

I listen to Jimi Hendrix, Foxy Lady, in the dark, drink milk
in chilled cartons on Victoria Station. Beyond the factory
hours of vacation working, I don’t know what I’ll do.

The two of us deep in the forest, summer
under two-man canvas, the tearing rasp of cows
at night and will they see the guy ropes?

I don’t know if I want a baby.

I review my life:
I love The Nutcracker Suite, being at the ballet –
my neighbour’s treat – still dreaming the dancer.

Does my English teacher want her poetry books back?
Twenty more years before I know she told them
I’d be a writer.

How will I survive being away from you, behind the door
of this university room?
You hitch-hike all the way to see me.

They would have loved a proper wedding – dad
to give me away, mum fussing round the bridal gown,
petting the grandchildren already born.

I stop wearing the mini-skirt.
I don’t know that I do love you is not forever.
I read Rachel Carson and believe the sea is dying.