Monday, 20 August 2018

A poem by Olivia Tuck

Year Seven

When I wake up on Monday, I’ve grown too much to dance without a lad. I see Matt from Year Eight outside the girls’ toilets and he gives me a gobstopper - does that mean we’re in love? I can’t message him to check ‘cause Mum’s kidnapped my phone. She wouldn’t let me have the red bra I liked when we were shopping; it was too sexy, and I’m not allowed to miss dinner even though I’m fat. In maths, Lily stabs herself with a compass on purpose. Becky says Lily is an attention seeker so we can’t talk to her. Lily cries 'til she dehydrates. Tough. Life aches. I want the jigsaws and poster paints of last year, and the book corner. I want Miss Maynard’s candyfloss breath; her satin hand to hold. I have to stop: get Lil-Lets. I need Feminax, but the cow on the till says I’m too young to buy painkillers. I hate her – she’s ancient, and she’s clearly forgotten how it feels. Apparently having an actual baby hurts more: more than crucifixion or whatever. You wish the midwife would shove a spear in your side and end everything. You can get pregnant if there’s sperm on the toilet seat, Becky told me. Becky says: you have to be careful, me and you could both get up the duff now. We are the moon but unpredictable – adults bang on about phases, besides, our months start like the moon’s months: in the dark. Only the moon is graceful about it. No blood. And I doubt there’d be The Hurt – it hurts like your kidneys are brinjals from being kicked in, it hurts like thumbscrews crushing your squealing ovaries – out in the vacuum of space. Speaking of vacuums, Grandma reckons I should do housework. On top of all my homework. I am becoming a woman, see.

Olivia Tuck has had pieces published in literary journals and webzines including The Interpreter's House, Lighthouse, Amaryllis (where she was thrilled to be nominated for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem) and Three Drops from a Cauldron. Her work also featured in Please Hear What I'm Not Saying, the Fly on the Wall Poetry charity anthology on the subject of mental health, and she has been Highly Commended and shortlisted in one or two short story competitions. She starts at Bath Spa University this autumn, to study for a BA in Creative Writing. Find her on Twitter: @livtuckwrites

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