Fifteen. Gold studs boiled in a saucepan
in Mrs B’s kitchen. Pinch your ear,
she said. Don’t tickle; do it harder,
and grabbed the lobe till dead,
pushed the post through flesh,
shifted the pressure of finger and thumb,
and pierced the other one, fixed
the backs with butterflies.
Bathe your ears in warm salt water;
turn the earrings once a day;
leave them in till the holes have healed.
Her son went on to pierce me, too,
kissing and stroking no longer enough.
Once the wound was opened, it did not close.
Copyright © Maria McCarthy 2015
Maria C McCarthy is the author of a poetry collection, strange fruits, and a short story collection, As Long as it Takes (both published by Cultured Llama). She writes in a shed at the end of her garden in a village in north Kent.