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This article is taken from PN Review 244, Volume 45 Number 2, November - December 2018.

After Rubix Katherine Lockton

‘Look how he steps on birds’ wings’ they say,
‘how he grabs at their feathers and makes
them his. If he falls it will be onto their backs’.

‘We don’t know our own bodies. I feel for my
thigh and find your calf, then her hip and his nose.
My thigh is lost somewhere between our bodies.’

They put him in a house too small for him.
Its walls push against his ears. This is
what they had said would happen if he lied.

What red does:

Our aunt sits us on giant chairs and tells us to stay.
We mustn’t, we shouldn’t, we can’t and if we do.
The tomatoes sit on their shelf untouched but bruised.

We push him in a pram too big for us to hold,
our arms grabbing only the wheels. This is what
it is to love my mother tells us; to push and push.

He doesn’t know why he leans on this gate so much.
He only knows he fed the chickens here once, his
feet thick with mud. Sandra, his wife, calling calling.

What our parents don’t say about red:

They painted bits of themselves red just to
feel the paint against them. It peeled off that very
night but they had felt what it was to be free. ...

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