UK POETRY LIVE
  'The Sting', Patience Agbabi
 

The Sting

At twelve I learnt about The Fall,
had rough-cut daydreams based on original sin,
nightmares about the swarm of thin-
lipped, foul-mouthed, crab apple-
masticating girls who’d chase me full
throttle: me, slipping on wet leaves, a heroine
in a black-and-white cliché; them, buzzing on nicotine
and the sap of French kisses. I hated big school
but even more, I hated the lurid shame
of surrender, the yellow miniskirt
my mother wore the day that that man
drove my dad’s car to collect me. She called my name
softly, more seductive than an advert.
I heard the drone of the engine, turned and ran.


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