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Shanta Everington

January 2010

Hanging On


Shrine to Justin

Janie said Merissa said Tanya had a photo from the party
with you in it. They jostle by the benches, pointing, shrieking,
throwing chips at Roop, head bowed, sweat patches spreading.
Merissa jumps up and does a little dance. I watch it flutter

to the gravel. They go to Boots to nick lipsticks and I look.
Your eyes stare up at me.  Pick me.  I cut the others off
and wait till they walk out laughing, to take you to the counter.
A woman with auburn side burns and chipped pinks nails

blows you up. I stick you over my bed, kiss you morning and
night until your lips chap, smearing mine with Vaseline. Merissa said
you like dark girls with ponytails and ripped jeans. I use an elastic band
and a razor.  My eyes go slanty and my head aches. I feel a rush

between my legs as I slash my Levi 501s but it only shows up my
spotty thighs. Your laugh gets me before I see.  You and Merissa.
Your hand on her arse.  Blonde hair loose. I run behind the bushes, tear out
clumps of black hair and puke up my heart, splattering the roses.


Girl’s World

She gave me nightmares after Nilson,
but for now she is my very own best friend.
It must be Sunday as Nana comes with
cut out dolls. We must be careful not to chop off their legs.

I pull out her tresses and throw them to you,
reeling you in like a prize kipper.
Your eyes glitter as you line up the crayons like candy,
waiting for your turn to devour her beauty.

I make toffee apples of her cheeks,
her eyes a crinkly purple like fading bruises,
or discarded sweet wrappers from your favourite Quality Street.
I might let you eat one if you are very very good.


The Teaspoon

She's talking to him, her child's eyes dancing, fingers fluttering
like butterfly wings; he looks out the window at the girl in knee-high boots

strutting by. She's looking into his eyes, blinking furiously;
he presses numbers into his mobile phone, unmoved.

She's pressing her hand onto his thigh and I look away,
then back again; he taps his foot under the table, an invisible bicycle pump.

She's tapping her fingers on his ripped jeans, asking him a question. You ask
me if my peppermint tea's okay and I nod, steam blasting my cheeks.

He shakes his head slowly and now he looks at her but he doesn't see; she's shaking,
her mouth snaps shut as she snatches her hand away, knocking over her cup

with a crash. His eyes flicker as he notices our stares; she doesn't
notice as her eyes ooze pain onto the pretty checked table cloth.

He stands up to leave and mumbles something I strain to hear; she stands up
and walks out ahead of him, a broken dandelion with a fragile stem

scattering petals all over the blood red floor.  You stir your cappuccino
and look as though I have dug out your eyeballs with the teaspoon.


Shanta Everington lives in London, UK. Shanta’s debut novel Marilyn and Me was published in 2007 by Cinnamon Press. Her first young adult novel Give Me a Sign followed in 2008 with Flame Books. Recent publication successes include a story shortlisted for The Bridport Prize 2009 and a winning entry in the Tonto Even More Short Stories 2009 competition, with poetry forthcoming in Envoi in 2010. Shanta has MA in Creative Writing with Distinction from Manchester Metropolitan University and teaches Creative Writing with The Open University in London.

www.shantaeverington.co.uk



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