m/45/toronto by Aisling Towl

We got it from her big brother

Or more likely from one of his friends

They were hot, spotty year elevens

and we wanted to be them

Or more likely the girls they hung out with

who had big earrings

red hair like Rihanna

and the kind of confidence we could never seem to buy in Superdrug


It came in a plastic packet

Like what cheap jewellery came in

But it was green, not gold

And we pulled it apart with our fingers

For lack of proper tools


(I remember climbing the seven flights of stairs every time the lift broke

And the red smell of someone else’s meatballs on the fifth floor

Her room was windowless but for three conjoined tiles of glass in the wall, just openable)


barefoot together on the marshmallow duvet

Our arms hung icy into the night

we watched dragon breath swirl from our fingertips and sit invisible

Between folds of sky

It was enough to make a box room an ocean

Severed universe, web of dreams

But mainly we sat there laughing at the shapes of each other’s big toes

And then we went on Chatroulette

and showed some Canadian men 

our tits


Morning arrived without knocking

Her mother tearing through the thick haze of night

with her shrill screams and Saturday work clothes

Window thrown open, she shouted me to leave

My face a limp apology lined with pillow-creases

I heard Unacceptable…..your mum’s phone number right now

Then the front door slam and my best friend’s voice, barren of the refuge of a giggle

Can we say it was your idea? Your mum won’t care as much.

I thought

You saw my nipples last night

And now there is a rift between us and we will never be the same again!

At least the evidence of our once-closeness

was likely immortalised

on a hard drive

somewhere in Canada

Follow Aisling on Instagram @aislingwlo and Twitter @aisling_towl. You can find Aisling’s poetry blog at https://aislingwlo.wordpress.com/

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