He winks at me
across a crowded room,
he does it a lot. It means:
Do as you’re told.
Isn’t this fun.
The wink flies across heads and canapés on paper plates. It rides on the chatter of braying voices and smacks me, hard, a sucker punch, somewhere just below my belly
where it tweaks the invisible like my mother’s taut guitar string and steals my breath.
And it reminds me of
JR Ewing and the white petals of paper walls
of the smell of blue felt
and the taste of amber in cut glass and cigarettes.
Where I feel it slide. Down to my place where muscle, bone and nail searched blindly for my soul and found it.
Where prising and gouging was replaced with lamenting flesh that moaned, startling pink. A secret wound of mine that hides in the mirror.
I grab at myself
to pull out the wink
“Euw Mum! She’s doing it again!” my sister shrieks and I understand shame is here to stay. It’s mine now.