AGAINST A WALL 1961

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: August 29, 2016

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Submitted: August 29, 2016

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There is silence
over dinner.

Lizbeth's mother sits
stern and unsmiling;
her father sits opposite
eating and gazing;
Lizbeth nibbles
at the food on her plate.

So how was your day?
the father says,
breaking the silence.

Someone needs
to learn manners
and respect for her elders,
the mother says,
staring at Lizbeth.

The father gazes
at Lizbeth too:
what's up?
He says
looking back
at his wife.

Your daughter
has no manners,
and has a book
she ought not to have,
the mother replies.

Book?
What book?
He asks looking back
at his daughter.

A sex book,
the mother says,
spitting the word sex
out as if it
were poisonous.

Lizbeth stops nibbling:
its not a sex book,
its a book about sex,
she says.

Sex book?
Why would you want
a book on sex?
he says shading
a red in face.

To learn about sex,
Lizbeth says.

But you're just 13
why do you
need to know
about that now?
Her mother says frowning.

Where did you get
the book from?
the father says.

From a girl at school
that's where she got it,
the mother says.

The father nods:
I see,
he says.

See?
See what?
She has a book
about sex
what do you think
about that?
The mother says
angrily.

He looks at Lizbeth:
is it educational?
He says.

Lizbeth nods:
very,
she says.

Educational?
The mother says,
its about sex,
its not a history book
or book on science.

The father eats
a mouthful of pie:
best give it
back then,
he says,
if you've read it.

Lizbeth looks
at her mother:
I will tomorrow,
Lizbeth says,
then nibbles
her food again.

Her mother resumes
her silence
grim-faced.

The father
eats more pie.

Lizbeth thinks
of Benny
at school
that brief moment
she had him
and kissed him
against the wall.


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