Going Dutch by Seanín Hughes

I cut my teeth on you; let enamel tear through the pink tissue of adolescence.

I bared my legs, but bent them inward, dressed them in angles in case


you found them

too soft, too fleshy.


I kept my hair down so subtle shadows fell where cheekbones might be,

stolen symmetry, in case


you realised I wasn’t

pretty enough.


We played pool. I never won. I never cared. We ate hot, salty chips on the way home;

you paid your way and I paid mine.


I never needed

to wear my coat, until


the night you didn’t walk me home. I fell asleep

and you cut your teeth on me.


I paid in full.


A version of this poem appeared on Poethead in June '17. Seanín was selected for the Crescent Arts Centre's Poetry Jukebox, launched in October 2017. She has work published or forthcoming in Banshee, The Blue Nib, A New Ulster and NI Community Arts Partnership's Poetry In Motion anthology. Seanín is a longlistee for the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing, 2018.

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