I did not promise to stay with you till death do us part, or anything like that, so part I must, and quickly. There are things I cannot suffer any longer: Mother, you never, ever said a kind word or a thank-you for all the tedious chores I have done; Father, your breath smells like a camel’s and gives me the hump; all you ever say is: ‘Are you off in the cream puff, Lady Muck?’ In this day and age? I would be better off in an orphanage. I want a divorce. There are parents in the world whose faces turn up to the light who speak in the soft murmur of rivers and never shout. There are parents who stroke their children’s cheeks in the dead of night and sing in the colourful voices of rainbows, red to blue. These parents are not you. I never chose you. You are rough and wild, I don’t want to be your child. All you do is shout and that’s not right. I will file for divorce in the morning at first light.
Jackie Kay was born and brought up in Scotland. She has published five collections of poetry for adults (The Adoption Papers won the Forward Prize, a Saltire Award and a Scottish Arts Council Book Award) and several for children. She was awarded an MBE in 2006.Read more about this poet