We eloped to Vegas, to a small white church.
You said I was a star. A million-pound wedding
wouldn’t be good enough for your baby anyway
so how about it? Let’s do it our way. Afterwards
I ate a burger in a rented convertible, licked
the mustard from my lips. You drove with your arm
around my back in a pair of gold rimmed sunglasses
and the day sunk into the red sand. I sucked clean
my knuckles and re-tied my silk head scarf
with no family to speak of. The motel had coarse sheets,
bugs hurling themselves at the broad night. When we fucked
you held my neck up to make sure I got a good look at it.
I made a decent wife. I made meals from jars
because you were particular. I tried to make you visit the dentist,
come home a bit earlier on Saturday nights.
I made peace when you took the shotgun
and started shooting holes in the sky. I was the one who could
calm you down. At night you cried blue tears, check shirt
rolled up to your elbows, asked me never to leave. I stared
at your large hands as you cut a thick wedge of cheddar.
Sure, I never thought I’d be someone’s wife, that my body
would get rusty like the old tractor, stalled in the field
where we first kissed, when you lifted my skirt
up around my waist and turned me around.
CECILIA KNAPP is the Young People’s Laureate for London. Poems have appeared in The White Review, Magma and Ambit. Her debut novel is forthcoming with The Borough Press. She was shortlisted for the 2020 Women’s Prize.