Watching Promise

by Sue Johns

across The Square, from under the tabby nets,
it seems a client has left her a gift.
My guess is a filthy finger nail
got married to her oily hip
and fathered some pus just out of reach
because she’s using some dirty dance moves
to squeeze it.

Promise knows this isn’t like the handjobs
we give, off the kerb, ending in a heavy spurt.
This is a wound that’ll spread
and come back weeping across an angry border.
It reminds me of those new girls,
when they stray into a foreign postcode.

Promise needs to put on the slippers
that make her look free again
(though she’s formidable in heels)
and pay a visit to the prissy chemist

who will be relieved (not) to be asked
for ‘Morning Afters’ or a cream for ‘crabs’,
though she’ll still dispense that look
she reserves for an entire continent
watching Promise bounce her box-braids
out of there with a crash
and the door-bell pinging.

This is our healing-time.
My friend rubs antiseptic
into the wet of her back-fat as The Square
takes a communal draw to the lungs,
watching Promise unlock her milky windows
to lie with her legs wide open
and let in some air.