Bethany W Pope


'Two deaths in one week; my father's boyfriend
and my sister's child.’ She scratches her name
onto the form which records the times she’s checked
that the toilets were clean. Blond hair hangs lank
against full, pale cheeks; the rims of her eyes
are redder than her lips. 'The funerals
were at the same time. I had to choose who
needed more support.’ She looks up at me,
blank, ‘ My sister won out.’  The lobby has filled
while we were talking, restless bodies crowding
in, to escape from their lives. The ticket
taker is stuck here for another nine
hours. Moving like a swarm of ants
honing in on a thin chemical trail,
the future audience forms a long line.
The ticket taker is an excellent
actor. She forces the gray fog of pain
back from her eyes. She tears, one by one, small
slips of pink paper. Radiant, she smiles.

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