Two Hundred and Fifty-Four.


Izzy circle


She was going to restock the counter anyway. Updating the milk order’s easy enough – it’s still only 2pm. Shame about all that tomato sauce, but it can’t be helped. She staunches the flow of milk mixing into the red with Wednesday papers. No one ever buys those anyway. The door is hanging off its hinge, stuck in front of the sensor so the buzzer sounds continuously. The air hangs weirdly too, holding onto the aftershocks. The woman had been made of nothing but muscle. Glistening and tan, wearing a fluorescent pink bikini. Her hair bleached white, scraped back into a ponytail held with a scrunchie. Surely it must be steroids or something. She had rippled when she walked. She had snapped the insides of the milk bar in half like tiny little bird bones. Now the bodybuilder was gone and there was only the echo of her cries, ‘look at this body, look at this fuh-king body’ – she had said ‘fucking’ like that, like it was two separate words – and so much spilt milk.


Sarah circle


He cried when his father died
which surprised him
he looked into the mirror at his puffy hot face
and for the first time, saw how his nose
was just like his dad’s
and wondered how often the man who raised him
had spent sobbing in bathroom cubicles
while his wife waited outside



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