Remember when Tommo found the library
and fingered out that Blue Peter classic
Petra: A Dog For All Seasons?
That title clung to you like a Kick Me sign
sticky-taped to the back of your blazer.
You took your pseudonym well,
stormed the school like Boudicca –
all matronly bounce and mucky blonde hair,
a dirty fat smile for the corridors
and purple Doc Martens Tippexed with stars.
Both your parents were vicars,
built like polar bears and born in their cardigans.
They let you say fucking before everything,
Even blessed you with the biggest room in the vicarage.
And you got your own kettle and teabags,
which made you practically an adult.
But how did you sleep in that room, Petra Hawksworth,
amongst the spread-eagled sheet music,
the straggle of elephantine bras
and unwanted pants that puddled the floor?
It was a wonder you could revise
in the thick of your circus of gay porn pinups
chewing-gum-tacked to the walls.
Remember the night of the harvest festival
when your soprano solo made the music teacher weep?
At David Newman’s party at his father’s hotel,
you came into your own,
realised the Petra you hankered for.
This was the night your boobs came out to play.
You got off with the room, snog-hacked
a thoroughfare from kitchen to lounge.
You fell to your knees in the garden
and in the cold grass earned your fellatio wings.
Rhian Edwards is a Welsh poet, singer, and songwriter. She has delivered over 300 spoken word performances world-wide, and won the John Tripp Award for Spoken Poetry 2011-2012. Her pamphlet Parade the Fib was the Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice in 2008.
‘Petra’ is taken from Rhian’s collection Clueless Dogs, which is her first collection, and is published by Seren.