Barbara Smith

When the Rat Race is Run

She’s stuck in a queue in Argos, spellbound
by the slabs of plastic guilt in her unclasped purse,
keys to the kingdom of credit, handed down

from the crunch-junkies, the world’s worst curse
of limits with upper limits that keep on extending
until sometime in the future, when a red-letter bursts

through her letterbox, the full force distending
the envelope’s window, the carrot long ate by the donkey,
no sand for her crew-cut ostrich-head bending

to escape the sliding smack-down of credit entropy.


Barbara Smith is a poet, reviewer and tutor living in Louth. Her work has won prizes and bursaries and her second collection is The Angels’ Share, from Doghouse Books. She blogs at