MAG Poetry Competition 2011 – 3rd Prize Winner
clutching her knees, tugging
her stained nightie down
again and again.
Her feet, naked
in the chipped porcelain sink
cold water splashing over them
until they are numb.
The bathroom door, locked now
Her father, drunk and passed out now.
She sits and watches the cold water breaking on
the bones of her thin, white feet.
And she never told anyone
what happened in that park
not her teachers
not her friends
not her mother.
She swallowed the memory
the way a fish having snapped the line,
tries to shake the hook free but swallows it instead
and where the barb catches in the body
a second skin grows around the wound.
Years later, chain smoking in bed, she tells him.
Her voice is flat. She is describing a scene from a movie,
a scene from someone else's life, only the ashtray
on her chest, rises and falls rapidly
a small dirty life boat.
Later she sleeps
her thin body curves like a trigger
icy feet touch his skin
a hook grows
in his heart.