Whalley Range Manchester 1957.
I saw her most mornings at the bus stop on my way to school,
swaying gently on stiletto heels.
She was bleach blond, pleasant faced
and wore a long wrap round coat,
the colour of sand.
Her red lipstick glowed in the early morning light,
illuminating the gold chain
and the delicate tattoo of a butterfly
just above her ankle bone.
It looked so real—
I couldn’t help but stare.
Every morning I willed it
to fly away.
But it never did.
Aware of my interest,
she always smiled
and asked me how I was.
To which I always replied,
“Very well, thank you very much”
I can’t remember who,
told me she was a prostitute from Moss Side
but I didn’t really know then what a prostitute was
so I thought no more about it.
I did know it was rude to stare though,
so I always whispered sorry
when she caught me looking at the butterfly.