‘Ain’t she sweet’ by Lizz Murphy

Ain’t She Sweet

We pace off the spare hour the streets quiet our bubble gum breath in front of us chat between ourselves get our bikes get our skates bash our tennis balls against the neighbour’s gable wall knock on another friend’s door a walk down the street A big chunky car tawny cruisy slows idles at a getaway angle engine toey We are polite children my chum goes to the window unprompted C’mon we’ll take you to see the Beatles the driver mutters out the side of his eye the other on the rear view mirror The back door opens heavily he is curly haired thick necked Our laughter we know the Beatles are in England My shyness welds me to the footpath my chum’s disdain turns her on her heel She stalks off to peel her big pot of 5 o’clock potatoes I run to my jobs too run home where little is ever said and say not a thing My chum tells her parents the whole stupid story her mother the shop woman in black blanching Her father the tailor reaching for the telephone one of the few in the neighbourhood Years later my mother lips tight chin drawn down says children are not safe in the streets not like they used to be
(previously published Rabbit: A Journal of Non-Fiction Poetry, 2013)
Lizz Murphy is an Irish-Australian poet. She has published twelve books including Portraits: 54 Poems and Six Hundred Dollars (PressPress); Two Lips Went Shopping (Spinifex Press – print and e-book). She was Highly Commended in the Blake Poetry Prize 2013 and a finalist in the UK’s Aesthetica Poetry Competition in 2013 & 2014. Her awards include the 2011 Rosemary Dobson Poetry Prize (co-winner). Her eighth poetry title Shebird is forthcoming from PressPress.