A long day’s looking over my shoulder into
last night’s dream of— of all people, you.
Eighteen years since I last saw you.
A decade since anyone last saw you.
Piss off, you old bastard. Piss off.
All six feet six of you. You don’t
fit into metric any easier than you
fitted into a standard bed or coffin.
Yours was on special order, I suppose—
although, if the lid wouldn’t go down,
it was no doubt some like-minded Old Boy
who bribed the Funeral Director’s apprentice
to stick your last test tube up your arse.
The honours I honoured you with (you & the school;
I couldn’t dishonour father & mother without you)
weren’t the mile, the butterfly, the First Eleven—
were words, words you couldn’t get your tongue around.
You hated to, but you had to announce them.
I always won. If only I’d been someone else.
When you expelled me in my own dream
(That was your dream too, of course)
I could only race away in slow motion
through your rows of eyes right, eyes right,
your jungle training nets, your 303s—
your troops lined up for World War III.
Still, perhaps you were a harmless old coot
blithering, blathering, blimping away
way beyond your rows of chemicals.
Everyone said so, of course— later.
I could out-quote you. Out-argue you.
Even at sixteen, I’d out-read you. So why
don’t you piss off, you old bastard.
You still scare me shitless.
© Graham Rowlands