This poem first appeared in New Writing Dundee 5 (ed. Rachel Marsh and Amy Kimmond)


I look better in mirrors, she thinks.

It’s something in the flip of my features,

something in the tilt of the glass.


‘Move the pin up a notch, tight,

as tight as that, that’s right,

so tight the leather squeaks.

I could wrap one hand round that waist.

I could put gold round your finger,

tie you up tight like a gift.’


Before breakfast my stomach is flat,

she aches, it swells as the hours slide.

I’ll buy tights that suck it back,

hold me in close like a hug.


‘You won’t wear heels tonight,

I like you yards below,

I like your eyes looking up.

I tell you when your roots grow black.’


There is hell in the hourglass, she knows,

it drains away too quick, cuts me to the quick.

When the roots run to grey it will end.


I sleep wearing make-up,

he’s never seen my face,

I set my alarm early.


‘Nearly there,’ a swig of black wine,

hands encircling an intestinal pang.

‘…you’re nearly there, you know.’


‘Just one more notch,’

hot breath on the neck,

‘and you’re perfect.’

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