In another country I cause red explosions on white with a workbook after midnight and wake in the morning to count the bites, always in competition with my brother to see who is more delicious. He is. All clothes cotton-elastic. Held together with a rainbow belt. And I need the eyeliner and the mascara and more eyeliner and the hair poker-strait before the yawning sun can see me. The sky all water/colours. Poppies spot the ochre grass. Move like debutantes in ruche taffeta. The silhouette hills brighten from black to green and the windows roll down so the volume goes up on the CD player. The breeze catches my neck. Blush. And I want to be a lover in Japan or in a cemetery in London but right here too. I grip my rucksack and try to remember yesterday’s vocabulary. All I know is le ciel est bleu but it won’t be for another half hour and je mange mon petit déjeuner dans la voiture because we do. Other things. There are hippos hobbled by the roundabout at the retail park. Ostriches that have their heads under wing. Shame. And we heard a big cat once. In the wetter weather they will wallow and still be there when we are gone. Over rail tracks. We see my friend and give her a lift. She has no sense of smell and perfect unpluckable eyebrows. She knows the album but cannot quite catch the words and beats the rhythms on her knees. We kiss greetings to the group by the abacus snail fence (takes account of the sun) and punch my brother’s arm as goodbye. I hum the same two bars most of the day. No two pupils come from the same place. Today a girl will take my arm and tell me in the heat You are so white and I will say that is not a good thing where I’m from. At least I’m not ginger. We will both laugh and I will feel uncomfortable. In P.E. I am paired with a boy because the teacher thinks we are both English. The teacher thinks Scotland is part of England. I shout. In another country the others called me Dancer because of my shoes, because of my hips, because of my hands. There I could hold hands with anyone and it was okay.
Alyssia MacAlister has a MA in Creative Writing from the University of Durham. Alyssia writes poetry, prose and non-fiction and is nurturing a found-text poetry project with the working title Proper Gander. When she’s not cutting up newspapers, Alyssia spends most of her time reading trauma theory research and saving insects from life-threating situations. Contact at email@example.com