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

erbacce-press

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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