Introducing the Novemver 2008 Readers – 3. Patricia Ace

Patricia Ace was born in Cleethorpes at the end of the Sixties of Welsh-West Indian parentage. Brought up in England, the Middle East and Canada, she studied English and Drama at the Universities of London and Glasgow before settling in rural Perthshire in 1993 to bring up a family. A stay-at-home Mum when her kids were small, she qualified as a yoga teacher in 2002 and currently teaches both yoga and creative writing to adults in the community and to young people in schools. Patricia Ace’s chapbook of poems, First Blood, is published by HappenStance Press. She won 3rd Prize in the Mslexia 2008 Women’s Poetry Competition. She has recently completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University for which she was awarded a Distinction. She lives in Crieff with her partner and two teenagers.

Ruby Turning Thirteen

She comes home from school smelling of rubbers
and Tippex and, faintly, of sweat.
She cradles her cat like a baby,
carries him around like a doll.
She slops milk into a glass, grabs a piece of bread.
She’s in a play about the seven deadly sins.
I’m this girl who’s dead full of herself – y’know, flirty…
I’m playing Lust.

She shoves a pink magazine in my face.
Who d’ you think is the fittest out of these guys?
She flicks the pages, playing it cool.
Her belt spells ROCK in silver studs.
Cookie Monster grins, ironically, from her t-shirt.
A guinea pig fidgets in the pocket of her hoody.
I study Shane and Jesse, Justin and Johnny.
He is soooo fit, she says. He’s got a six-pack. Look.

She pretends to be a dog, down on all fours,
tongue lolling out, hunting for hidden treats.
Good doggy I say, patting her head, playing the game.
(She wants a dog more than anything.)
She lies on my lap, pretends to be a baby.
Her braces knock against the lip of her sucky cup.
I’m not ready for a boyfriend yet, she tells me
I’m playing the field.

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