after the missing boys
End of zone, up against a wire fence at the back of a supermarket warehouse. Plastic ties dig in, fixing the leaflets, face out to the station pavement where it is I important to be busy at all times. Missing person fonts, school photo monochrome. I’ve lost count of how many boys, I think it’s five or six. This leaflet is for the latest one. He looks like the others.
My mum sat at the kitchen table and told about when a killer was in the area she grew up in, and she was a young attractive woman when this happened, meaning that she and all her friends looked at the world differently. She said it was like the streets were an aquarium.
He takes boys, after school. All boys will be escorted now. They complain. Only the neglected kids will get taken, with no one. Gangs of girl leafleters. Running down alleyways, pasting posters, posting. Boys spit in the dead faces.
We gathered in the hall. Marcus Bonio had gone missing.
Marcus spoke to a lot of people: he knew and was known. Even I had HAD conversations with that kid. He’s the one who reinterpreted The Flintstones with a shining grin. His dad was a roadie. Marcus skateboarded in all weathers. This term he’d faded, was a background boy. No one noticed him until he disappeared properly. He hung around invisible, it didn’t matter that he’d gone blank. The teachers’ faces said they should’ve picked up on it.
His dad phoned my mum and asked if I knew anything as I’d been to their house for the party Marcus had when his dad went away and came back and I was the one still there helping Marcus clean up when everyone else had left the place a mess. His dad turned up at our house, my mum inviting him in. Marcus had printed missing person posters with his school photograph on them. His dad handed one to me. Marcus will come back I thought. I caught his dad’s eye. I think he thinks the same.
after the missing girls
Pages soaked in stale perfume, one girl buried with her locket, abandoned shelf-lifed tabloid NUDES, perfect copy xx chromosome printouts, leaf mulch hurried, buy back page pepper spray, trespassers in the aquarium, white tent imprecation, how long does it take Adidas to rot away to nothing?, hoping the streetlight will be enough.