Yesterday I swam amongst people — women —
Who earn more than £500 an hour, whose word is law.
I felt their equal (they did not think me theirs, but no matter).
Once upon a time, I was not only their equal, I was more,
Better qualified, quite literally entitled:
When I changed my name, it was from Ms to Dr.
My law was words.
Today, I had to argue with the school receptionist
To go and fetch my son's inhaler when he needed it,
Because he could not breathe.
I had to promise to bring it back.
I had to apologise, because she had not had personal sight
Of the inhaler when it was brought into the school.
I had to apologise, because she was too busy, really, the school receptionist,
To attend to my needs.
And my son was upstairs and could not breathe.
I am the same person.
Am I the same person?
I did not know what I had until I lost it,
Because when I had it,
It was buried under an avalanche of work,
And I was alone, exhausted, goaded.
I thought it would be better to look for balance.
Now I am a fish in a net,
Crowded, exhausted, breathless.