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The good girls are the ones who are interviewed by the BBC
50 years after they didn’t sleep with their boyfriends,
who themselves, shortly after the non-act, either (1)
plummeted into the sea and were or were not rescued or
(2) didn’t; possibly returning to father four or five tow-haired children,
all of whom grew up and appalled mum and da with their wild wild ways.
I bet there were also bad girls, seams geometrically straight,
hair bobbed just so, white-gloved, heeled,
ready to walk out into the barley, eager even.
Bad girls and bad boys, who woke on a warm afternoon,
itchy with stubble, to find an inscrutable Shropshire ewe watching them,
calm as though the city behind her were not on fire.
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Both regulators and employers have embraced new technologies for on-the-job monitoring, turning a blind eye to unjust working conditions.
But I do miss the hymns, / the small, hard apples with their dimpled skin. I do miss / things.
The vast hinterlands of the Global South’s cities are generating new solidarities and ideas of what counts as a life worth living.