A Good Girl by Sharon Phillips

today's poem vertical
A good girl

Amber light from yellow curtains drawn
against the setting sun. Madeira cake,
meat-paste sandwiches. The gas fire
putters. What a pretty dress. Whispers
and cigarette smoke. Want a sweet?

She looks like her dad. Come on, give us
a kiss. Powdered cheeks and whiskery
chins. Shy, isn’t she? Peaches from tins.
They should have been more careful.
Bloody fools. Have another piece of cake.

He asked her to marry him straightaway.
Come and sit on my lap. Stiff white curls.
A housefly’s slow circles. Be a good girl.
Does she want a glass of lemon squash?
Let’s hope she don’t take after her mother.


Sharon retired from a career in education in 2015 and started to write poems again after a break of 40 years. Her poems have most recently appeared in Ink Sweat and Tears, Picaroon, Snakeskin and Sentinel Literary Quarterly. In 2017 she won the Borderlines Poetry Competition with her poem ‘Tales of Doggerland’ and was also shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. Sharon lives on the Isle of Portland, in Dorset.


4 thoughts on “A Good Girl by Sharon Phillips”

  1. Thanks for this poem and introduction to Sharon – there are so many layers in this and such a sinister background so slowly revealed. Love the clever use of yellow throughout – the cake, the squash, the tinned peaches, the setting sun. Such a vignette of time and place.

    And I have always thought I could write myself away in Portland – one of my favourite places. Have, in fact, just come back from there. It has a sense of freedom so important for a writer – I shall look up more of Sharon’s work.

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