Natalie Shaw – Diagnosis


I explained about the dressing in the morning,
how I stood there saying, “Pants. Now trousers.
Put your top on next.” I had been hoping
things would change, but really it was worse;
not just the clothes, but how he got so angry,
still wet the bed, and often hit us, bit us,
pushed right up against my face to scream.
At most a little boy and he was lost,
scrambling under blankets of frustration –
his tungsten skin grown thick around each scar.
I once believed that I could reach and pull him
out and clear, but now I know the ask
can’t go that far. That soft and golden centre;
I’ve learnt this late, that I must hold it better.



Natalie Shaw lives and works in London, and her poems can be found in Fake Poems, Domestic Cherry, Antiphon 11 & 12, Butcher’s Dog, and Ink Sweat & Tears. She writes occasionally at

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