Middle: An Assay – by Charlotte Ansell


Sometimes you’re the piggy,
the spare part, the third wheel,
your struggle is mostly oedipal.

You’re always in between,
feeling it’s you; grown up too fast,
the child listening from the stairs.

You’re the favoured possessions
of mummy bear; the porridge,
the chair, the bed. Goldilocks

didn’t want you, no one did.
You are forever overlooked
but always there- except

when you’re the empty in a polo,
the dropped stitch, the gap left
when the first baby tooth falls out.

You’re the stubborn of me do it!
Shoelaces, mouthfuls, tangled curls,
the tantrum in the Tesco’s aisle.

You’ll become a wish to be
unseen; gawky, gangly, acned,
the ugly before the swan

or the mousey huddle of girls
in school; picked before the fat girl
but no one ever remembers your name.

you’ve had your moments
but you’ve never won,
you cannot be alone.

You hold it all together;
won’t be undone. And damn,
weren’t you always the precious one.



Charlotte Ansell has two poetry collections published by Flipped Eye with a third forthcoming and has been published in Poetry Review, Mslexia, Now Then, Butcher’s Dog, Prole and various anthologies. She won the Red Shed Open Poetry Competition and was one of six finalists in the BBC Write Science competition in 2015. She was commended in the Yorkmix poetry competition and won the Watermarks poetry competition (in aid of flood victims in the Calder Valley) in 2016. She lives on a Sheffield keel on the tidal Medway with her family and a pirate cat.

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