Ruby, Aged 4½

She’s a roulette wheel loaded against you
A sure-fire bet when you don’t have the stake
A gun in the hands of a man with a grudge
Like a smudge of silver leaf on a blacksmith’s neck

She’s a giggle that turns into a manic episode
An intermittent broadband connection
A delivery between nine in the morning and six at night
Like a bus driver who waits when he sees you running

She’s a garden wall with loose brickwork
A ninety minute wait for a cab on your birthday
A higher than expected energy bill
Like a footballer with a doctorate in theology

She’s an argument with your boyfriend’s brother
A cobra squatting in a meerkat’s den
A hooded teen walking behind you at night
Like a coin without a date stamp

She’s a bit of a laugh that ends up in court
A train that blasts past at your station
A flag at full mast when the queen is dead
Like the difference between a common puffball
and a death cap. Like being alive

first published in Butcher’s Dog issue 1 2012

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