As if by magic    

 I’m led blindfold into the Dilworth’s front room

My knees tremble, tummy turns.

I’m eight years old.

 

My knees tremble, tummy churns.

Other kids giggle.

I pick out Andrew’s.

 

He let me hold a baby chick in my palm

Its warm heart ticking.

I’m eight years old.

 

‘Do you want to feel Nelson’s eye?’ Andrew

asks. The answer is no. I say, ‘Yes.’

I’m still here.

 

I’ve held many hearts since then, including

my own. Dipped fingers in many places

I shouldn’t.

 

My knees tremble, tummy turns.

I’m eight years old.

Still here.

Published in Reach Poetry 277

 

 

One of the happiest times of my life was living in Hornsea, East Riding. Our family moved from Hull when I was 6. We moved away from a city devastated by war to a quiet, resort at the end of a railway line.On Edenfield Avenue, a cinder track  road was where at 7, I learned to ride a bike. Dad took us to Saturday morning pictures in the town. I walked home from school along the sand and trusted the world was safe (except in films).

There were 3 families with children as I recall. The Greens, the Dilworths and us. Judy Green, probably a year older than I, went to ballet and tap-dancing lessons; she taught me to dance – me in my outdoor wellington boots. Mr. Ozzy, injured in the war, drove a hand propelled invalid carriage. Mr & Mrs Weldon had a television and let us watch the coronation of Queen Elizabeth on it. There were fields nearby where we played and climbed trees and a piece of spare land where a bonfire was built for Guy Fawkes Day. In my memory gardens were places to play in.

I loved school, especially primary school and my teacher Miss Morrow. We kept a diary and I remember drawing the bed in which I imagined King George VI died in his sleep.

The Dilworths were all boys and together we started to dig to Australia. They kept chickens, had a special lamp to keep them warm; the smell of those chicks remains with me.

The poem arose from one of Wendy Pratt’s on-line workshops during the Pandemic. I can’t remember the actual prompt though it had to do with magic. The poem describes a time of initiation, a time of belonging. After I’d felt Nelson’s eye, I joined the other kids on the side-lines to watch the next victim to be asked the question – this time in the know.

Wendy’s When I Think of My Body as a Horse, is a moving anthology and well-worth reading.

 

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