Aischa Daughtery

The Boys

the boys wear twenty matching ties and

chant, kiss, kiss, kiss, outside the bakers

so I flick my shiny, pleated hair behind  
my shoulders and purse my mango-lipgloss-lips


for Elliott, whose dimples match my own and

looks like he associates with The Jonas Brothers


his mate pushes him into me and he laughs

without so much as an apology, spits and turns away

 

I can't complain, he wants to spend time  
with his friends: the other boys who text me


wink faces at night and spit shut up at me  
the next morning when I am talking too loud


————


I find comfort in boys like Joseph, who insists
on walking me to my front door after school


and waves to my parents when they drive  
past him, even when he is not alone, it’s not


embarrassing because my mum is FIT and my dad 

drives a Jag, although everybody else says I’m a slut


ignore them, they don’t even know you
but he does. he knows that I feel much older than


those who surround us and I he knows that I shake

when I cry and the other boys don’t know that


Joseph and I carved our names inside a heart into

a bench in the woods behind my house until

they are drinking and pissing behind it years later
with Joseph, who doesn’t talk to me now because


I’m not the hottest girl in the year anymore

 

———

 

the boys from out of town feel exotic so when Sam tries
to feed me my first cigarette and sits me on his lap in his

 

parents garden, I accept. they feel exciting and grown-up
so I roll my eyes when my mother insists that Zack

 

isn’t good enough and I hold my breath when Reanne is gentle

for the first time, they really do only want one thing, I’m sorry

 

but its okay, because I’ve recently discovered fake-tan makes

me look thinner and the older boys think I am a catch because

I’m getting particularly good at makeup for my age and I admit there is

nothing weird about girls masturbating whilst the other girls cringe at the thought

 

———

 

one boy calls me good girl  
when I meet him in my school uniform

 

one boy says he won't miss me
but he’ll miss the sex

one boy doesn't like it when girls say no
and I have never taken a taxi home  

from so far away
before

The First Time

not because she drives and it’s hot as hell
or because she bought me sweets from an expensive shop
or because she let me see her parents house for the first time  


paintings by her father and traditional interior
traditional like her mother so we shouldn't stay long
no photographs of her since she turned 16 but of her brother at 20


the second her bedroom door is closed  
I learn exactly why she calls herself an artist
my body looks younger than hers and it is


so I try hard to prove my own artistry as mature
but she doesn’t get it, immune to my touch
she has never cared for anybody  

I feel like I am trespassing on her body
so soft and warm to touch but working
the night shift and unable to let loose

but something in my magnetism loosens her
maybe I am harder to crack than the others
but I doubt it, or maybe we’re in love already

I am unsure whether to linger so I kiss her cheek instead
she thanks me and I smile because it's pure
but it isn't really


because we have a conversation in silence  
and I notice the way she closes her eyes too tight
the way she mothers her mother and her life is a secret  


because of how it made me feel when she jerked in her sleep the following night the way I stayed up for hours, rationing her stillness  
and watching our silhouette, painted on the white wall


because of how kindly she speaks of those who have done her wrong
when you smashed her backbone off that brick wall,
it shattered completely


because I can’t just watch as she fears her own desires
not even the way I fear wearing my ‘no to homophobia’ t-shirt in front of my grandad nor the way I fear loud groups of men in darkened alleys when I’m alone

but the way I feel when he says we're, "not quite right"
when they get bigger and faster and start following me

because I know that I can piece her together  

and, in time, I will be able to hold her  
like she was never held,

like she is holding me

Aischa Daughtery is an English Literature student at the University of Glasgow and is based in the city centre, where she performs her word at spoken-word events weekly. Since self-publishing a zine full of her poems last May, Aischa has built up a small but loyal online fanbase as a writer. She has had poems published in She is Fierce magazine and qmunicreate, qmunicate magazine’s online creative writing section.

© 2018 Colin Herd and all the individual poets

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