Rose Mary Boehm

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It takes just one

Those who would topple kings
no longer fear
those who hide behind their bullet-proof office windows,
their bomb-proof cars.

A schoolgirl from the Khyber Province of Pakistan
herded small girls to school
in the face of guns in the hands
of those who are afraid
of little girls who can read.


Mum’s new boyfriend stayed home
to look after her he said. Annie doesn’t dare
to move from her stool in the corner by the sink
where she has her colouring books.

Mum won’t be home until late. She’s
working the nightshift at the diner,
and Annie is making herself small
to squeeze through the gap by the back door.
Then she’ll run until she’s safe
by the troll bridge.
She shuts her eyes tight.


A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and a poetry collection (TANGENTS), her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in U.S. poetry reviews.