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Fold the bed-sheet,

cross your fingers--

this lie you are

looks set to linger,

like a rumour

or the smell

of last night’s dinner--

Wash the dishes,

cross your fingers,

hope the story

won’t be questioned--

hope some more

when someone listens

(while you scrub

so your skin glistens,



to keep hidden,

bad blood leaks

around what’s given--

the bastard caste-

mark on your forehead

is déclassé

and whorish red

So cross your fingers,

clap and count--

till superstition         

finds you out

Fiona Sampson