• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 12
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A Spare Key

I am eight. I'm very grown up.
I have my own front door key.
Happy birthday, my mum said.

Keys are power. Keys hanging
heavy on chains, swinging
long from my father's belt.
Keys worn like puzzles, jewellery,  
like a thinly bared brass finger.

No more scratching around
like a dog pawing a lost bone,
or searching dark secret spots
under porch steps, or hiding
a spare under a flower pot.

In my grip and grasp, I have
this shiny brass pressed deep
into my hand, its sharp teeth
jagged against my fingers.
It feels body-hot on my skin.

Try it, my mum says, so you know it works.

Into the lock, gently turned,
a click and fragile tumble, and
I'm safe as houses, inside.