Some nights, home by myself, I watch The Trauma on TV. I don’t even watch it, really, just leave it on in the background as I put away dishes, spray the countertop, wipe down the edges of things. At the end of each evening, I tell myself, it’s not a good movie. The sloppy jump cuts, the pickaxe motif, the soundtrack of car doors and tent flaps! The girl too young to be thirteen. I could do a PhD on the director’s influences: Hammer horror, Full Metal Jacket, the rape films of the 70s. Perhaps my research would discover why everyone’s hair looks like that. Imagine the viva: me in a cheap suit, sweaty palms pressed to the podium, audience of dour professors in front of me. As evidence of my deep knowledge of the field, I play scenes reflected off the whites of my eyes, and my mother watches from the gallery, beaming and weeping, her lips moving with mine.
Eve Ellis won the Winchester Poetry Prize in 2016 and was shortlisted for the Women Poets’ Prize in 2020. Her poems have appeared in Magma and Bare Fiction. Twitter @EveEllis14