A lighter, taken from her mother's purse.
She rotates it, and she tries a casual flick
Which doesn't light it. Then her next try's worse -
Not a spark, even. It makes her sick.
When finally she gets the cig alight,
That's fairly nauseous too, but she becomes
For a moment her dream, a queen of the night.
The ciggy taste is bitter round her gums -
Who cares? At twelve she's found a way
To keep the worst of everything at bay.


{short description of image} When she was eight... Mother and step-dad out...