samia goudie



dirt child


The slap;
Left a bright red handprint on her left cheek.
She could still feel it.

At school the teacher wondered why?
But could not ask directly.
The child mumbled and blushed.

Typical, a real clumsy one.
At home she takes a fresh sharp clean razor.

She looks in the mirror as she traces lines;
Like unshed tears along the contour of her face;

Towards her heart.

Pathways of bubbling red rivers.
She winces at the sting;
Her mother looks shocked, taken back, enraged.

She yells as she always does.
Hysteric laced fear.

The child sees this,
Relishes the moment of unspoken shame.
Maybe it will be enough to stop her,
Now that the hurt is there to be seen.

At school;
The PE teacher takes her to the side.
The red lines have small round scabs.
She wants to know how this has happened,
Why the cheek is now a red-blue.

She cannot say;

She wants “them” to uncover the truth.
Instead, the child is in trouble;
The trouble maker,

The bad child seed.

The corridor is long and silent.
Dirt child sits outside the door
And plays with her scabs.
She knows what is coming and tries to fly out the window.

But, she does not escape.

The bath is full;
Smells of pungent ammonia.
A cleansing for a wicked soul;

The door locks and she holds her breath.
But not for long enough, her lungs scream pain.

No one comes.

Morning has broken;
Purified child plays it perfectly on the piano at Sunday school.
The Sunday school teacher throws her out.
She has underlined verses in the good news bible.

She wants to be saved.

Surely if she is saved by Jesus;
But it is not enough.
She is always bad, a gutter snipe with dirt for blood.
Never clean.
Tossed out, screwed up, and discarded.

She cuts her arm;

The blood is red.
She wonders at the brilliant colour;
She is chasing down the ghosts.
Dirt child.