Ill-used

by Paul A. Freeman
The Write Idea
Second Place, August 2017
Judged by Tim Mayo


I’ve been ill-used, no other word will do;
pristinely packaged, sanitised and new
a month ago I stood upon display
till someone paid to carry me away.

Once home, he placed me in a cup whose rim
was chipped and whose interior was grim.
Upon a shelf, inside his smallest room,
I stayed, alone, to contemplate my doom.

Next morning he adorned my head with gel –
my bristles had a fresh and minty smell.
But then he raised me up into his mouth
and brushed from east to west, from north to south.

I rubbed against decaying slabs of brown,
deep cavities, raw gums, a tarnished crown,
till finally he scrubbed his furry tongue,
an organ as malodorous as dung.

Each morning since, I’ve gagged upon his breath,
that rancid cavern’s stench is worse than Death,
with plaque and gummed up lips that dribble goo –
I’ve been ill-used, no other word will do.


I love the conceit in this poem. It is well thought out and well executed. The rhyming couplets accentuate and underline the comedy of the poem. --Tim Mayo

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