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I burnt toast the day I came out to my mother.


It leapt out the same moment I did.


The bread turned black and I,

announced myself.


She looked up from her magazine with

lemons on her lips

and onions in her eyes

and said

what is it that you want me to say?


mother I wanted you to organise

your unconditional love for me into some words

that I could use for a rainy day

when I feel hated




we still have a lot of loving to do, a lot of learning

and there is a reason that

even now,


when I feel shame

I smell burning.



Katie Watson works at an education centre specifically for those who have experienced mental health issues, substance misuse, homelessness and/or have an offending background. She is studying to be a Psychotherapist. She has previously had ‘There Is A Problem In My Home’ published in The Bell Jar (2018), and her poem ‘How Trauma Works’ will feature in the anthology A Wild & Precious Life due for publication in 2019. In 2017 she performed in That’s What She Said at Edinburgh Fringe, a spoken word event ran by For Book’s Sake, a charity which champions writing by women.


Carol Ann Duffy says: Katie Watson’s ‘Toast’ is a very simple, honest and direct poem that perfectly captures an important event in a young life, of a girl coming out to her mother: the power and vulnerability of that precise moment. 


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