It took two looks to see him –
snapped head and loose jaw, silent
moviewise. The boy who broke me in,
my head, my skin, up, said ‘a break-
down would do you good’. The change
snuck him past me, but: same flesh,
same stride. I called; we spoke.
The quick, smiling chat of two
folk who knew inside each other’s
mouths, but not heads. I looked hard.
The difference wasn’t clear, and then
it was. – The lipring that turned
his pout sullen, hot. The jangle
of earrings I’d buried my face in
as he steel-tracked my heavy
shoulders. The scaffold. The sharp,
shocking stud in his busy tongue.
All gone. In the four years since
he hauled me into a lift, with
‘You wanna make out?’, he’d pulled
out every metal sign, become
employable, less obvious. I’d paid
ten quid in Camden for my first, made
more holes each time I got depressed.
Got inked. He asked, ‘So what do you do now?’
‘Piercings’ was first published in Visa Wedding (Stewed Rhubarb, 2012)
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