At Seventeen
by Bethany Rivers

The mirror shows a blurred reflection
in the ladies’ toilet of the Faversham.

The usual crowd drinking
shandies, coke and half pints
in our college lunch hour.

The pool table draws us again.
The addiction of not potting balls enthrals.

I came in here to cry.
You follow me in.
Tell me I’m overreacting. The knife drives
in a little deeper. Of all people —
I expected you to understand

The boy taking the next shot
at his final red
does not know my world has
cracked seismically
because of him.

I dream of my body
under the tyres of a lorry.
But you told me
I was overreacting.

He pots the red
into the black hole.
Tomorrow will be
another day, another girl.

PHOTO: “Heart Break” by Angela Chaney. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bethany Rivers’ debut pamphlet, Off the wall, from Indigo Dreams Publishing,  came out in July 2016. Previous publications include: Envoi, Obsessed with Pipework, Clear Poetry, Cinnamon Press, Fair Acre Press, Bare Fiction, Picaroon Poetry, Three drops from a cauldron, The Ofi Press, and I am not a silent poet.  She has taught creative writing for over 10 years and mentors writers from the kernel of an idea through to publication.  She runs poetry inspiration and healing days. Visit her website at

Author photo by Brian Carroll