Going Dutch

image: Paperfish6, Jacque Davis

I cut my teeth on you;

let enamel tear

through the warm pink tissue

of adolescence.

I bared my legs, but bent them inward,

dressed them in angles in case

you found them

too soft

too fleshy. You didn’t (they weren’t).

I kept my hair down

so subtle shadows fell

where cheekbones might be,

stolen symmetry, in case

you realised I wasn’t

pretty enough. You didn’t (I was).

We’d play pool –

I never won (I never cared) –

and eat chips on the way home;

you paid your way and

I paid mine, and I never needed

to wear my coat (I did), until

that one night when

you didn’t walk me home,

the night I fell asleep and

you cut your teeth on me,

the ones you lied through (you did),

and I paid in full.

First published by Poethead, June 2017.