Ketchup Kid



Her day was punched with silence
and shredded with hand me down promises,
only ten summers young and already her dreams
are splintered with hate,
through the filmy curtain of her left eye,
there is a coral ring of sadness,
it weeps across the school room desk
and scoops her into the arms of misery
She ate cooked rat on Sunday,
her mamma told her it would be okay
but the scabby hump of her intestines
had already made her puke three times,
yellow chunks of phlegm
glutting her tender craw
In the canteen, she copied Bernadette and
jammed 18 free ketchup sachets into her pocket,
She would mix it all up later,
they called it hill billy consommé,
it left a sweetened trail of squalor
in her maiden mouth
Home was a burnt out Lincoln,
she was meant to be in heaven with her Barbie doll, Casey J,
just another ghetto abortion statistic,
bloodying the sidewalk,
but her mamma changed her mind
Mr Weezer, let them use his trailer in exchange
for favours
and creepy dress up games,
he had a golf ball size cyst on his cheek,
she wanted to jab,
his breath smelt stale
like warm beer pooled with
cigarette butts, and lard-
his lips were greased with evil
She would sit alone at recess rocking
herself to sleep,
the chairs were comfy
and the sun-filtered blinds
warmed her cold fingers,
she avoided the fish bowl stares,
other kids hurled her way,
and retreated to her
make believe castle,
decked with pink balloons,
and Minnie Mouse dresses
spotted with candy balls
of glitter
Her one friend, Ellen got taken away,
‘child services,’ they said
Ellen was capped with bruises on her twiggy arms,
above her eyes,
and on her back
they left wheels of blue, purple and whitish green,
on her fragile skin, like climbing snap dragon,
she missed Ellen’s goofy laugh
and the way she drew violet unicorns
with indigo eyes
As winter came and the trees shimmered in pearly soft silks
and the leaves sang on the breeze
she dreamt of a real Thanksgiving dinner
not pop top beeferoni
but a sit down meal with soda
and even a Christmas Tree,
on Fridays, she got her weekend
snack pack from school,
but that didn’t stop her
festering need for normality,
she is the canker sore of
fetid greed
a shameful statement on the landscape of
red, blue and white
the banner hatred of the poor.
Is that the triumphant call
of those stars and stripes
that blister the lonely Vegas night?


Saira Viola
Illustration: Elena Caldera



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