Frances and Martine / Hilda Sheehan

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dancing girl press, 2014

Hilda Sheehan is a writer and arts events organiser based in Swindon. She was born in 1967 in High Wycombe and grew up in Leyland, Lancashire. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at the Open University. She has been a psychiatric nurse and Montessori teacher and is now co-editor Domestic Cherry magazine with Michael Scott, She also works for Swindon Artswords (Literature Development) and the Swindon Festival of Poetry. Her poetry has been published in The Rialto, Poetry Salzburg Review, Tears in the Fence, The Interpreter’s House, ArtemisPoetry, The New Writer, South, BBC website, Commonhead, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Kim Moore’s Sunday Poem, Josephine Corcoran’s And Other Poems, Ariadne’s Thread, Incandescent and forthcoming in Shearsman.

Hilda won a Poetry Can South West Poetry Award in October 2013 for her work in poetry development in the south west.

Her first collection of poetry, The Night My Sister Went to Hollywood, is out now and you can buy HERE or direct from Cultured Llama (

The Arm

Martine had an arm off. Frances was worried. How would Martine ever get repaired? She was never a looker, as it was, and relied on her second arm to make up for her lack of beauty. How will you ever get repaired Martine? Or get a man, or another job without it? I have two legs and I can cook. You can't cook, not without your second arm, because you will never control onions or slice carrots. You are so much less with one arm. I will find something that one-armed women can do and I never planned to marry. You are now enormously difficult, Martine, not owning up to the disability one armed ugly women face. It is now twice as bad for you with your arm off and your ability to do so much less than the pretty, subdued, public face. I have a plan to hide my missing arm under experimental clothing made for women twice my size. No one will see my missing arm because it is not really there, and also unimportant.