When I was six I was caught pulling the legs off flies.
I had made a miniature operating table from soggy wood
and tin foil. My theatre room doubling as the pantry.
Barefoot. The frames of my toenails plastered in sticky mud.
I was prone to shakes you see and stiffness always gave me balance.
But not today. Skirt blaring. Each foot firm in its occupation.
In the next room Father’s limp wrist dangled over the armchair.
Damp puddle manifesting; he was no stranger to drunken spills
on mother’s expensive rugs. He’d always say sometimes scout,
a man’s gotta play the villain. I paused my operation. Tooled down.
Left a fly with only half a wing pinned into the bed of foil. Tittered away.
Grabbed a cloth to mop away his sins before mother’s words numbed me
in my tracks. They went to the effect of his mess, let him die in it.
She begged the parameters of my new-found profession. I managed a smile
that conveyed my warmth for her and somehow told her to mind her own.