PoetryChroma Magazine

Red Hair

PoetryChroma Magazine
Red Hair


Claire Booker


At six, they gave her a doll with real eyes.

See – open, closed. Open. Closed.

Its vinyl ears were perfect concoctions.

Father perched on the sofa, gulped words

like a pelican. Whole sentences wriggled

to death in his gullet. Mummy, more jolly,

twirled rings on each finger, whirled

that flat smile round until they all fell giddy.


The pronouncement itself (that her birth

had been immaculate, a miracle of science)

stabbed into the shiny drill of pearls

down the doll’s hot dress: fiddle, undo,

button up, slip the hard thing through.

A splinter pulled from a stranger’s block –

a kind man, a generous man; the kind of man

who is daddy and who is not. 


Now she waits in the foyer clutching Burberry.

Happy families swim up-stream past the crush,

revolving doors, the outline of a man.


Each hair on his head yelps: Mine.