The year I was fifteen
when the Show came to town
I went all on my own money.
I won at the laughing clowns,
had a whole fairy floss
to myself
and went on the gravitron
without throwing up.

Walking home afterwards, I left my girlfriends
at the corner,
headed uphill alone to the rectory.
The grassy side of the street
muffled all footsteps: the first sound I heard
was a whump between my shoulder blades.
Hot, shocked tears
stung into my eyes.
I whipped round, wheezing.
Rolling at my feet:
a half-eaten apple.
Twenty steps behind:
the Year 10 boys in a mob.

I could still feel the apple
in my back, a spreading
target-shape of stunned skin.
          ‘Hey, priesty-girl.  Goin’ ta church?
          Run home and cry to Daddy’.
Lava rose in my chest, hotter
even than tears.
My mouth opened
every swear word
I had ever learned
spewed from me
piling up
with the apple crumbs on the ground
until I was knee-deep
in filthy

The street went very quiet.
Fifteen bum-fluffed jaws
dropped into the silence.

From Mapless in Underland, Ginninderra Press, 2004

One thought on “Stirring

  1. Pingback: My poems are being taught at my old school « Melinda Smith’s Mull and Fiddle

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