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Weeds grow where they want to; not where they're told to...

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Simon McCormack

 

Navigating by Hang-ups

 

A hand-me-down girl lends her body to the boys

on the estate, love-bites like graffiti on a wall, but etched

with a compass on a toilet door a bar-gate of five,

 

with dates and hearts. Her route home is beaten

through a weed-spangled playing field, beyond that

she grows up with mum and six older brothers,

 

eats fast, plays hop-scotch between a lamp-post

and the chippy, disappears into a maze of black paths,

link-fence and doors scrawled with sharpie tags.

 

A red head, stick thin and strike-wild, she finds her way,

flares for this rough strip of lad, the spit of her dad, pours out

a faultless heat. He fancies himself in her light,

 

rolls her between finger and thumb – names her freckles

after stars, places constellations on her shoulders:

Orion’s Belt, The Plough, a birthmark in the small of her back

 

becomes the Horsehead Nebula. They flatten the grass, clatter, sag

briefly, snipped marionettes half-dressed and unmapped.

 

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