I swear on the holy bible
I want to be naked under the grit spreader
beneath its not red but yellow lorry
feel the salt stone my face
go under the wheels with Jesus
and when the sting comes, the treads and all the black stuff
that dead petroleum makes, all the fossils; the resurrected resin.
Then – only then – will you spray me out onto the pavement
rub Psalm 56 in my hair.
‘The problem with cheerleading,’
my mother said, ‘is you need a gap
at the top of your thighs.’
She showed me how to wind wool
around a cardboard ring instead, the mohair
downy once you’d cut the stitching.
My fingernails caught on the gilt comma
of nana’s pinking scissors, a place to rest my thumb
and Dame Edna Everidge’s gob was a black ditch on ITV, another not-quite-woman.
Rah-rah red pom-poms, woolly substitutes on the sheepskin rug,
velour as the first pair of balls
I’d cupped, light in wet hands, my mouth.
I never got to try one of those pleated skirts:
nothing to whoop for.
The cows fed on the top green
when the sun switched sides.
I couldn’t get over the size of them. Black as walls
velour drapes swung loose at their neck.
After, my father said we’d bought it on ourselves
what with kicking a red ball
and mother’s yawping, plus they don’t take kindly
to hairy dogs. He threw us over the stile that day
then jumped himself. I dream of the plush bump
of their noses at the chalet window
how their eyes bulged
when they came for him.
Rachael Smart is a writer from Nottingham with a thing about words. Her fiction and poetry has been published online, in literary journals and placed in writing competitions. She goes wild about poetry on ABCTales.com and is also an Associate Editor for the literary e-zine Cease, Cows. She writes best when her pencil loses its point.