Alix Scott-Martin

 

 

Sisters

We found her at the bottom of the garden
like a dropped apple,
held her in the hollows of our palms
afraid we might spill her
now that she was ours.

We kept her in an ice cream box,
lined it with kitchen roll,
pierced the lid for air,
made a matchbox bed snug with cotton wool
and that night she slept under a skewer hole sky.

We put a brick on the lid
when she tried to escape and to stop the
cat who heard her scrabbling fingernails.

We were naughty –
held her eyelids down
and brushed them blue
with Mummy’s make-up from the drawer,
rouged her cheeks.
We stripped our Barbies,
laid them tits up and
dressed her in their mini skirts
and netted gowns,
pushed her feet
into tiny plastic shoes,
cut her long hair short
to make her sexy.

We loved her all winter,
took turns to pop her in our pockets
and let her run along our arms.
It was your idea to sprinkle her with salt
like slugs. We tried pepper too,
giggled at her tiny atchoo.
We filled the basin to see if she could swim,
squealed when we almost lost her
as the water slurped and gargled
down the plughole.

When we found the box in the spring
we didn’t want to lift the lid –
held it at arm’s length –
would have walked away
if it wasn’t for the stink.
We peered inside – you retched.
We brushed her into the compost bin
with the egg shells and grass –
tried to forget those little rigid hands.

 

 

 

Alix Scott-Martin has been an English teacher for the past 16 years. She is currently living in Rugby with her husband and two sons. Originally a linguist and translator, two recent Arvon foundation courses with Caroline Bird and Mark Haddon inspired her to start writing creatively again.

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