Back from school, 4.30pm

New school, last day of term. He hauls its weight
home in a duffel bag, daydreams clear its spikes
shortcutting through the grey park. The tinselled town
is selling hard. He doodles in its margins.

Same redbrick cul-de-sac, same parked cars,
bedsit lightbulbs, sodium streetlamps where
Salvation Army bands blast lonely hymns.
The laurel by the gatepost holds his arm.

No lights. Outside her room he breathes, eases the door.
Cheering messages line the wall, old prayer books,
her bed for wrestling cancers neat,
and vacant. Handbags sagging from their hooks.

 

This poem has also been published in Clear Poetry.

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2 thoughts on “Back from school, 4.30pm

  1. Hi Julian.  Good to meet you at the Ian McMillan workshop in Guernsey.  Apologies, but I didn’t realise at the time that you were there because you had won the competition.  Congratulations!  I’ll look out for your work when I’m on the bus. And will be keeping an eye on this as well now.

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