The Crossed Road by Myriam San Marco

It was an ordinary day, the day you told me
we were leaving home. Skipping my way
to school, I was cat-curious and sun-happy.
You had your silent face on, reading

the distance to the gate for the precise
moment you would to talk to me.
I chattered on, showing you fabulous
stones discarded on the path, pleased

by the deliberate countdown of your
heels. Before you sighed and opened
your heart to shatter mine, I was playing
with the last ray of my sunshine.

You stopped, stilling my fidget, your
stockinged knees on the cobbles, your
sad smile levelled at my eyes. You
spoke of all the times I already knew:

the times when daddy’s voice would shake
the walls and rattlesnake the windows,
the times when fear came in first through
the front door and I hid outside pretending

it was a game, the times when one word,
one fork out of place landed us in a visit
to hospital, the times of pasta for breakfast
and empty bottles. You told me I was 8 now

and past the age of reason and excuses
enough to realise what my daddy is not.
I was late for school, carrying the weight of
your words that circled and tied me down.

Forty-Eight by Myriam San Marco

Little slivers of hate curled up in the morning.
7am: This, the hour for the early shriek – closed curtains.
Nothing to see here so I moved to London.
And still I expected the knives to come back.
I went round and round and left and right and up and
Down sometimes
I hold my new keys my new nose my new job close.
I keep my head down but I don’t drown.

Little slivers of hate curled up at midday.
The sunlight steps over my shoulders – silent kitchen bruises.
My face pressed to the lino I notice the speck of dirt you wanted
me to see. I make a list of all the constellations, under my breath,
to tune out the stench of your blows.
You pull my skirt up…
You tell me you are doing this because you love  me, too much.
I say nothing.
I wait.
Even after the sulfur of your grope has dissolved,
I wait.

Little slivers of hate curled up in the evening.
The moonlight fringes my gloved fingers – red-eye flight.
In the hushed space before the slam- bang of the front door
I pause
and look at the racked knives.
Smooth, soft, slender blades –
slashes slits stunned furrows in your neck.

I had counted to 48 when you stopped moving.

SNAFU by Myriam San Marco

I keep my eyes shut to stop revving full throttle, dreaming of cotton wool and the land where little girls in pigtails still believed. I could not fail to hear the chittering of my hair growing, growing, growing and the exquisite crinkle of aluminium.

You looked up, soot on your face, booting up the last dregs for all you were worth, which was much less than an ice cube in winter.

Out of bed, out of the flat, out to lunch.
I did not say a word, I did not look back, I did not swear.

Hit the streets full tilt and an extra ball in play, squeezing the throats of scurrying hopes and scaring babies in prams. My cluck and I, careening down the slim serrated edge of the pavement, going down baby girl, going down. I climbed the walls that were – not – there.

I stacked my 10ps, neat little soldiers, read all about Schoolgirl Sharon who could do you good and proper for a score, made my first call.

Finchley Dave: Nothing doing mate, waiting on a parcel.
Skag Jimmy, Posh Martin, Big Neil, Dentist John, the Scousers, Scottish Brian: Nothing.

I briefly entertained the thought that Busty Sally could sort me out a couple of bags, her big…smile promised as much. I swallowed down the chunks of 3 days ago munchies that filled my mouth before I rang 10-bag Billy: Dontcha you know there’s a drought on, girl?

The shivers caught up with me, biting down hard and shaking me inside out. I fought the spasms, gave the starved dog-look a punch in the face and scanned for the distant smoke signals of the something something. My hands, twitching, as I peeled my eyes off, pillaged my brain for who’s got.

Very soon, before I dissolved,
I would say anything,
I would sell anything,
I would steal anything.

Myriam San Marco is a French performance poet living in Bournemouth, Dorset. Under the pseudonym Word Maker, she hosts The Platform open mic and Spread the Verb – a new Apples and Snakes night starting in July 15. Her words have been published in Boscombe Revolution, Message in a Bottle, Oddity Magazine, Interpreter’s House and I am not a silent poet.