(Photograph by Paul Connelly)

his phone

is a bath filled with cold water so that each girl captured has to stay there, a ghost with goose-pimpled thighs shivering in the depths of a smeared screen. Still, he waits for new flesh to be drowned, dragged thrashing to him, so he can devour each silver fish as left-overs, sucking tender bones out of the spaces between his teeth, a trembling reflection stolen, a spoilt stream.

The Voyeurism Bill, known colloquially as the Upskirting Bill, came into force in the UK on 12 April 2019.

After the painting “I am expecting” by Vadim Kadzhaev

Worry is painted here also –

High-ceilinged doubt still stretches above her head;
despite the washed out light, I see it, damp-fretted,
the yolkish hue of a memory of morning sickness lingers still.

Her close-budded smock anticipates the shape
she wants to be. Behind the folds there is an impatience
for movement, an imagined gurgle of a first feathery kick.

I study her face –

thin-skinned glow of an egg-shell cream,
I see myself as I once was, papery face pulped fine
with sheer effort of silently knitting a pearled masterpiece.

Behind, a cast of mother and child, marbled cloak
heavy. (This imagined sanctity will always remain
at her back.) Another stitch is made in darkness.

I rest on the empty window ledge –

This love (I want to tell her) will never be still. But
her hands are strong and they will hold onto this new life,
struggling, bloodied, slippery with fear.

Olga @olgadermott  is originally from Northern Ireland. A former Warwick Poet Laureate, she has had poetry and flash fiction published in a range of magazines including RattleMagazine,MagmaUnder the RadarInk Sweat and TearsThe Interpreter’s House and Paper Swans.  She was one of the winners of the 2018 BBC Proms poetry competition and was a shortlisted poet in The Poetry’s School “Primers” competition. She lives in Warwickshire and has two daughters.