my new love is barely thirty years twenty nine years younger than my youngest son forty two years younger than my eldest daughter people stare at us in the supermarket I don’t give a damn when he looks into my eyes my heart does a somersault inside its tight red chamber I’m no fool I say to myself o no not me of course he’ll be off to pastures young and green as soon as he’s gathered strength into his bones his long limbs his famished soul and of course I’ll be the one pushing him off shouting go go go my face stiff from not crying meanwhile I feed him rice cakes hummus ripe figs marveling at his porcelain beauty as he wolfs them down


O but my new love is a gay Lothario how are you today no you tell me how are you? o my goodness really? listen can I bring you anything from the shops are you sure now? when he arrives at my door I try not to gasp he is more beautiful than Jesus with his John the Baptist hair his El Greco hands his heroin frame his angelic smile folding deckchair limbs to fit at the table eagerly leaning forward I’m all ears tell me all your troubles and I’ll tell you all your charms


Sunshine bowling down the narrow lane and my love is at the door his friend a blonde child boy beside him peeping around his shoulder oh nice very nice please come in says I and the two of them are seated feet under my table me serving dainties are you sure now you’ve had enough the boy child fishing an apple from his pocket I’d like to give you this my love smiling an oh-this-is-perfect smile to himself me tying on an apron I’ll make supper I’m sure you are both hungry pulling a bottle of wine from the back of the cupboard shaking crisps into a gaily striped bowl party! a party! my love winking


my love is getting fed up why won’t I open heaven’s gates what’s the problem here why am I stalling when he is being an angel after another four hour conversation by the fire he walks out stubbing his toe on the lintel cursing leaving the door yawning wide behind him I rush to the mirror O ridiculous you fool you old fool you


of course I had to look like a dog when I came abreast of my love standing alongside the prettiest girl in the supermarket she flogging Christmas cake luxury brand he says and she’s a diabetic! god says I and they make you sell Christmas cake that’s a good one hahaha I am stuck to the ground as she gives a gorgeous young person’s laugh her dished face angled up so prettily to his and him looking down into it last week she goes it was chocolate they made me sell what a scream! my love at her shoulder nodding sagely while she is trilling hercoo coo coo up into his gravely attentive masculinity

back at the house I pour wine down my concrete throat Van Morrison on the radio singing just for me when my love calls by next morning he says it’s sometimes helpful to be shown you’re not as good as you think you are I laugh like a drain oh indeedy and it is and fucking painful too


my love hurries through the shopping centre a brown packet clutched to his chest his face grey a starving dog chased even from the supermarket’s well stocked dustbins he’s blown his last chance rigorously we avoid each other’s eyes


getting used to the days without my love the broken neck fall vertiginous into the empty hours the o so painful regrets next thing the central heating goes within minutes the house a deep freeze Mr. Plumber arrives toolbox bristling would he like a nice bareback ride? faithful Mr. Plumber flushing crimson hurries to replace the worn out valve while next door my neighbour assisted by P & G Property Services in a red van plunges his electric drill into the thick cement wall again again

after dark my love’s so-called friend appears eyes greedily entering even before I stand aside come in so three streets away I hear my love part his lips slide his tongue expertly along the gummed paper strip so how’s things? goes the friend I made a stew would you like to come over? I laugh that’s uproarious so it is a stew really? but he’s serious

before he leaves he pulls out a half eaten chocolate bar I almost forgot! I ease a modest triangle from the crushed golden foil thank you when he’s gone I smash the dark cocoa between my teeth like glass then the head reappears I called over earlier—he’s hurt his feet


I rush to my love wings flapping he is lying flat on the filthy bed suspended between death and life his borders disintegrating I am standing over him shouting FOR FUCK SAKE but he is too far gone to argue DID THEY NOT EVEN BRING YOU A CUP OF FUCKING TEA? I am screaming but he is too ill to be angry my love

downstairs in the squalor I hear movements a cough up above rats scrabbling across the attic a bearded one appears surveying the scene alright mate? turning to me you should have seen him last night like something out of a horror movie

my jaws won’t move


I feed my love gruel herb tea honey he is sitting up in clean blue sheets his tears so dark so acid falling into the blackness below why am I such a fucking psychopath he goes I take his hand stroke stroke stroke you’ve been so good you’ve tried so hard you were doing so great you—he can’t bear to look his eyes huge eating the dark

afterwards back from the crawling with grime bathroom breaking the surface smiling he is shrived a loved and adored child the golden one the one who can do no wrong the precious

will the downwards swerve ever be mentioned again? I think not


my love is a broken archangel on crutches his bandage a white flag he is an upright skeleton balanced on aluminum legs laughing up into the Spring clouds hysterical at being let out of hospital

side by side we walk down the main street cars smashing into lampposts Jesus did you see that? the frightened suits on their way home from stifling offices back to stifling houses angry wives look away in horror there but for fortune

my love doesn’t notice his face a flower tilted hungrily up to the air the light the Spring the buds the trees the breeze the daffodils shaking their yellow heads inside the railings of the little park


lying on the velvet chaise longue my psychiatrist seated behind my head I am crying noisily for fuck sake show me an arsehole and my inner child leaps down out of my arms and starts running towards him chubby paws outstretched Daddy! Daddy! amused at first they soon with their famous low boredom threshold start the criticisms why don’t you shout more when I fuck you? how come you never fight back? why don’t you tell me stuff that you’d like me to do to you? what’s the fucking matter with you?

next it’s slaps pinches small humiliations in public places till the cheeping ball of brightest yellow is a tangle of filthy feathers broken claws a busted eye socket and back she comes to me bawling her heart out what happened what did I do wrong Mammy? I gave him everything! I licked his arse I licked his cock I licked his balls the lot! Darling I go Darling

five minutes to go says my shrink is there anything else?

shooting upright I cry out No! NO! my shrink’s surprised face in the mirror I am out of there fifteen seconds flat pausing at the door see you next week pausing again thank you o thank you


seething airwaves choked with fumes of anthracite I am ready to kill where did all the love go? laughs my love who cares? I say all I want is a plastic bag and enough fury to pull it over your head till it explodes inside it steady on he goes no one was talking about murder here now you are taking the piss I go now you have gone too far my house a junkie’s cradle of filth my mattress rotten my good linen fit only for burning my heart a junk yard he’s looking up at me laughing you’re fucking laughing I scream I always laugh he says when the shit hits the fan god give me strength I howl how did I let it get this far I thought we were having fun says he preparing to shoot up at my kitchen table I scream you’d do that in front of me at my own fucking table that belonged to my mother to her mother before her? he stops looking puzzled but I’ve done it hundreds of times before get out I am screaming out out out out looking scared he starts towards the door

that evening my eight children arrive by plane by taxi by bicycle by train the house filling up with wheelie cases backpacks mobile phones what were you thinking Mother why did you let him in Mother? Mother they go Mother Mother Mother I sit a dishrag grey haired old woman with a deflated scrotum face

back from the bathroom I say rather whisper I was lonely turning all together from phones from the counter tops from talking to each other my eight children cry Mother, for heaven’s sake Mother! They look at each other the twins by the window rolling their eyes

that was the summer the cherry blossoms arrived late big as a big man’s fist rotting on the brown scaled branches of the cherry trees during the sudden heat wave

lying awake in the ticking dark so quietly only my little cat can hear I say I thought it was love

of course it was love! goes my little cat stretching out one paw then the other kneading the purple quilt purring herself to peak after peak of happiness

© Rosita Sweetman
[This piece was selected by Rachel Wild. Read Rosita’s interview]