To form eyes she cut two holes
in the paper,
neither round nor oval
more like buttonholes
stretched out of shape.
He wasn’t a real liar, she explained,
but ugliness attracted her, coarse hands
thick voices, scarred and burnt skin.
Only this, she said, could do justice
to his hefty stare.
His face was cocked to one side
slightly, as if inviting a blow,
the ears she had drawn
seemed to be climbing towards
the top of the head.
She had scribbled him some hair,
briskly rubbed dark paint into the cheeks
to show his stubble,
like a boy wiping away an unwanted kiss.
The lines of the nose ran parallel
before swerving round
to meet each other.
She tore the mouth open
with her fingers, folded back
the helpless lips,
then wrote words below the face,
stacks of words he had forced to rhyme,
numb words she swore she had heard him say,
words he could never take back.