Wrenched from alarm-pierced dreams
I pedal past milk pale in bottles,
cigarette sparking in the windy half-dark,
the inky future surrounded by silence.
The insides of my knees scrape in rhythm
against the sheer bulk of the classifieds,
thick slabs of Saturday’s sport and scandal.
A reader lurks behind his front gate,
dressing-gown, pyjamas, uh oh, cock
standing tall as if he has just woken up,
adding a perkiness to the neighbourhood.
When he asks me to admire its girth I do,
naïve, but not enough to linger,
no longer allowing him doubt’s benefit.
I report the hot news to my outraged mum,
cigarettes hidden, selecting details,
the lewd suggestions, his ragged breathing,
my plucky non-compliance, projecting
this crime for school, gathered mates hushed,
my language less circumspect,
blowing a thin stream of smoke between my teeth.
In court my man looks different in a suit,
no gaping flies when his character witness,
our C. of E. minister who teaches R.I.,
offers asthma as an extenuating circumstance.
Here on Earth life isn’t as it is in Heaven.
A good behaviour bond ends my stop press.
So much for all that ragged breath.