lower school toilets

Laura McDonagh

narcissus cannot see herself 
in mirrors cloudy with hairspray
still
it’s hard to 
            vanish:

eye contact
avoid eye contact
a violin case issued by the local authority (mine)
a knee-length skirt (also mine)

i cannot be unseen.

i pluck my eyebrows
fuck, i think, 
this body is a betrayal

on the back of cubicle doors
black ballpoint streams of who loves who:
kim luvs danny
        bekkie luvs scott
                    michelle luvs tiny
                                gemma luvs hazi
‘i’s dotted with hearts 
like the descendants of Israel
beside more vicious slurs
(“vicky t sucks cock for bus fare”) 

here
the air is foggy with impulse, vanilla,
            smoke
and the smell of teenage girls 
is rising
            thick and 
            sweet


Laura McDonagh is a writer living near York. She’s interested in what we mean by ‘home’, social class and the experience of the Irish in Britain. She was a member of the inaugural 2018 Rural Writing Institute and Penguin’s WriteNow programme 2020. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @hey_laura_mc.