DOWNS GIRL

RUBBING NOSES

What's a Mongol?
Della asks Froggie,
her cousin. He sits
beside her on her bed,

 

flicking through her
CDs. What people
used to call people
with Downs, he says,

 

taking out a Talking
Heads album, gazing
at the cover. Why?

Who said it? Della

 

stares at him, tongue
resting on her lower
lip, her eyes bright,
drinking him all in.

 

Man on the bus said
to me. The bastard,
Froggie says. Bastard?
Della looks at Froggie's

 

tattooed hands. Not
nice person, he says.
She lays her head on
his tattooed arm. He

 

flicks some more CDs.
Man said sit elsewhere
to me. If I'd been there,
I'd have floored him.

 

Floored him? Della
twirls a finger in a lock
of hair. Flattened the
git. She closes her bright

 

eyes, imagines the man
flattened. Did you? What?
Sit elsewhere. She nods.  
I'd have thrown him off

 

the fecking bus, Froggie
says, taking out an Oasis
album and turning it over.
She opens her eyes, rubs

 

her head on the tattooed arm.
Man said I shouldn't be
out in public. Why? Said
they used to lock my type up.

 

Who was this prat? Don't
know. Stranger on the bus.
Froggie puts down CDs and
rubs her head.  She looks at

 

him, feels his hand rubbing
her head. Never should have
been locked up years ago,
Froggie says. Were they?

 

Yes, Uncle said they were,
he worked in a mental hospital
years back. Why? Froggie
kisses her head. People were

 

ignorant or ashamed; locked
them out of sight. Why?
She hugs Froggie's tattooed
arm. Don't know, Del. She

 

closes her eyes. Tears seep.
Run her cheek. Froggie wipes
them off with his finger and
licks it. Not worry crying over.

 

She kisses his arm, hairy,
tattooed, blue and red, yellow.
Put on the Stone Roses. Della
takes the CD and puts it on her

 

lap top and sits next to Froggie.

They kiss lips and rub noses.

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