by | August 24, 2021

At Scouts, 

we would bash the trees

and see what little creatures

fell out:

watch them scramble

in plastic ice cream tubs,

taking up space
only how they are told.

Villages are puddles:

at my feet I see

myself in blue gingham,

Nutella smeared

at the corners of my mouth,

but before I can meet her

eye, a girl in pink wellies

stamps on it.

In a soft blur of leaves,

the nature reserve

whispers to me

about pond-dipping

(god, I hated that),

about squatting

among trees, watching

creatures squirm as we gawp

at their fragile bodies.

I broke my wrist

when I was four,

falling from monkey bars,

landing, limbs almost plaited,

like a tangled skipping rope.

Just a sprain.

My granny couldn’t believe

I was really that fragile.


The afternoon sun

over the village hall

winks at me now, 

as if she knows

about the time I stood

outside the entrance,

flirting with a boy

I didn’t like. Unlike me,

she never wanted to leave.

She peers over the roofs

as though cheating on her SATs,

copying my memories. Nothing

I do goes unseen,

my every movement taken down 

in someone else’s handwriting. 

Now, I am the spark 

of an electric shock on the metal slide. 

Standing among the trees, I watch the little creatures 

at my feet disappearing before I can work out what they are, who they are. 

I stamp in the puddle myself, letting the cold water shock me into seeing this place

like a postcard.

Words by Katie Kirkpatrick. Art by Nat Cheung.