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Facing Up, a Poem by Lynn White

Updated: Feb 6, 2022

You’re looking past her

avoiding her eyes,

the eyes of the woman

in the front line of the protest

the one who reminds you of your mother

or your mother in law

or your grandmother

or all of them together.

You don’t need to look at her,

don’t need to meet the challenge

of her eyes,

you have the power

you have the choice

to look past her.

You can do anything

so long as you don’t face her

so long as you don’t cower

you have the power.

You know it

when you collect your paycheck

when you slither on your belly

in the wet fetid gutter

to collect your police paycheck

and take it home

to your wife

or mother

or grandmother

ready to meet her eyes proudly

if only you could open the door

if only she would open the door

if only she would let you in

if only your key would still fit her lock

if only she would still look in your eyes.

But she has the power to look past you.

She knows it.

She knew it then.

You know it now.

First published in Free Lit, Law issue, Spring 2019.


Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places, and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Apogee, Firewords, Capsule Stories, Gyroscope Review and So It Goes. Find Lynn at:and


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