Friday, 5 February 2016

Poem 2016 / 021

Life Lessons

last lesson of the afternoon
while her blouse dampens at the armpits
as she hides a yawn behind one hand.
History, and the open windows admit
the hum of lawnmowing,
as the caretaker walking back and forth,
back and forth,
rugby-shirt stripes on the playing field
where older boys in summer whites
pretend to be civilised one bowl at a time.

At night it's all “Julie, give me a handjob
and I'll give you a pound,” “just touch my cock
for a cigarette,” “how do you do question seven
on the maths homework?”

She doesn't tell her parents
why she comes home covered in grass stains
and smelling of beer and cigarettes
with her hair tousled
and the beginnings of a black eye.
The call her a tomboy and let her
cut her hair short and play football
and boxing for girls though no other girls
are signed up for it.

The gnats come out when the streetlights
glow dim and red in the evening air,
when the strains of Coronation Street
echo through the gullies of the new estate.

“You dirty bastard, What's my mom
going to say when she sees this stain?”
She buries her skirt at the bottom of the washing
basket and hopes she doesn't notice.

© Rachel Green 2016

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