Monday, 27 February 2017

poetry 2017 / 032


Peter Dashey used to chase me home
threatening me with beatings
for being a sissy
a poofter
a ginger.
I was ten or eleven
afraid to tell my parents
who would tell me to stand up for myself
or I'd be a big girl's blouse.

Every day a different route
the streamers on my handlebars flying
with the desire to keep me safe,
the half-mile home
stretching into two, five,
as I sought longer routes
where he wouldn't be waiting
on one corner or another,
fists ready to pound his hatred
into something he saw as weak.

His brothers were the same,
sporting bruises from their father,
walking to school with his discarded beers
but only Peter had to work his issues
on the freckled canvas of my face.

Poor Peter
swept into the recesses of memory
with the bike shelter cigarettes
and cricket stand Bjs

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