Big Girl

Big Girl

Dear Diary,

this is probably the most excited I’ve EVER been.

Mum says it’s a big responsibility,

that only mature little ladies are allowed to walk to the shop alone.

Maybe next time I can take you too

but today I’m packing light,

in case there’s lions and tigers in the bushes

that jump out and I have to run for my life.

I don’t think there’s ever been any sightings

of big cats down Andrews Lane

but it’s better to be safe.

I’m wearing my fast trainers just in case,

and Mum said not to talk to strangers

and she’ll wait for me at home

but if I’m not back in twenty minutes

she’s going to phone the shop

and I’d rather not have another telling off.

Wish me luck, Diary, it’s time to race the clock!

Dear Diary,

I made it just in time

but I took my pocket money

and got distracted by the jars of sweets

as I was standing in line for stamps.

They have THREE different flavours of fizzy laces now,

red and blue and green,

more than I could ever eat, more sugary than I’ve ever seen.

One only costs 10p, and I had £1.50

so I asked for five of each.

You should have been there, Diary,

when the till lady said ‘you want FIFTEEN?’

I said I did, because I’m a big girl now,

and I’d done all that walking and my legs are still growing,

but don’t tell Mum, she’ll worry my teeth are rotting

and probably wouldn’t feed me tea.

I ate most of them, but hid the rest in the usual spot

behind the drawers at the back of my desk.

She never checks there when she’s mad at me.

I think sometimes she just forgets

that growing up makes me hungry.

Bacon Butties for Breakfast

Bacon Butties for Breakfast

I creep downstairs, sneak past Mum’s room

where you have never slept. I don’t think Mums and Dads share a bed

and babies are delivered in wicker baskets by the milkman.

I ask for twelve, promise I will take care of them,

but this morning it’s just two pints and an orange juice carton.

You make my bacon sandwich to soothe the daily disappointment

whilst I spread the tomato ketchup around my mouth like an ointment

and grin at our little secret. I even help you clean up

before Mum comes down and you tell her I haven’t eaten.

I see you wink at me as she enters the kitchen.

You leave the house for work at 7.50am

to the sound of the porch door creaking open.

I never understand why you walk half a mile to the station

when the train tracks run right past our back garden.

Maybe grown ups aren’t fast enough to just jump on board.

Maybe they’re too chicken to take the leap into their imagination.

Maybe you’re the reason I turned vegetarian.

Ten Years and Counting

Ten Years and Counting

It’s like you have always been there,

tucked away in an inside pocket

of the back of my mind,

a fidget item for these hands to find

when my head disconnects,

under anaesthetic from the neck down

though I’d have rather felt the burning sensation

from your quick disintegration,

the pain as you were wiped away.

Now a small dressing covers all that remains

of how you stuck to my skin.

Nurture wins the genetics debate

for I won’t miss your DNA,

my colours never ran in the family.

Home Educated

Home Educated

If my mother taught me anything

it was how the weak inherit the dirt

buried beneath the weight

of putting husbands first

and living through your children.

If my mother taught me anything

it was the chains of festering silence

tied to family secrets

the way you and my father screamed after dark

the way you feigned happiness in the morning.

If my mother taught me anything

it was to criticise my body

hate my own bones

till starving showed them through my skin

how you would be proud of me then.

If my mother taught me anything

it was the vicious birth

you called us sacrificial blood

threw money at the graves of those you slaughtered

expecting forgiveness and calling it love.