Stanza five

The "men in plain suits" begin stanza five, which makes us think of cold authority figures or businessmen. The situation causes Leila to wake up and her sudden fear is conveyed by the expression "opens her eyes wide" as she wonders what is going on. Eyes that are “wide open” could also suggest that she sees the reality of what is going on.

My voice is a house with the roof/ blown off.

The mother attempts to comfort and “soothe” the child, but her voice cannot. The metaphor evokes a state of sheer exposure. A house without a roof has no protection and is open to the elements. Kay links this to the mother's voice, which suggests she is struggling to conceal her fear from her child. It also conjures images of war-torn cities from which inhabitants might flee. This may be the woman’s background – the world that she left, like her mother, “over the other side of the world”.

What do I tell my daughter

The stanza ends with this statement (rather than question), which implies that the girl will find it difficult to live in a world like the one in the poem, where men have power over women