Shlomit sat on the corrugated roof of the pram sheds gently kicking the heels of her battered black shoes against the brick wall and she told you her mother wore more makeup than usual to cover the bruises her father gave but don’t tell anyone she said I’m not supposed to say anything mother said you know in case he hears she mouthed off to neighbours you said you’d tell no one looking at her beside you

her hair pinned back with grips her thick lens spectacles blowing up her eyes her black skirt and stained blouse with the plastic necklace you got her from the fairground around her thin neck you’d seen her old man crossing the Square some nights three sails to the wind singing sometimes cursing others and one day you saw her mother black of eyes and spilt of lips carrying shopping back from the shops you don’t wear make up you said guess he leaves you alone her eyes looked away her drowned kitten

perfume took your nose and as she moved you saw the bluey green skin on her upper arm but you knew he did the screwball talked with his fists if his words failed but Shlomit said nothing of that she talked of her wedding day when she grew up and how many kids she’d have and she having a white dress and a big house although you knew she thought it even if it wasn’t said that her future husband maybe like her old man or maybe just a deep down dread.

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