Treasure Island

Terry Collett

Card Swapping

O’Brien brought
cigarette cards

to school
and showed you

what he had
in the playground

and Davis said
who’s the dame?

Veronica Lake
O’ Brien said

holding the card out
between finger and thumb

Sutcliffe took hold of it
and held it close

to his eyes
not bad

he said
you looked over

Sutcliffe’s shoulder
my dad likes her

you said studying
the picture

taking it
from Sutcliffe’s hand

who else you got?
Davis asked

and O’Brien fingered
through the pack

mostly soccer players
and the odd movie star

he said
hey got any Marilyn Monroe?

Sutcliffe said
gazing short-sightedly

at O’Brien’s hands
what’s a matter Eddie

got the hots for her?
Davis laughed

and Sutcliffe pulled
a face

wouldn’t say no
he muttered

wouldn’t say no?
O’Brien said

why Eddie you wouldn’t know
one end of a dame

from the other
you’d end up kissing

the wrong cheeks
Sutcliffe pulled a face

I’ll swap you
for the Veronica Lake

you said
holding it close

to your school jumper

O’Brien said
and you swapped him

with a soccer player
you had three of

and he took it
and tucked it in his pack

and you put Veronica
in your jacket pocket

nice and snug
between the pages

of a jotting book
save and sound

waiting for
your bedtime look.

Submitted: Thursday, February 02, 2012

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  • Martin O'Neill (2/2/2012 2:36:00 AM)

    I love this. It'captures the moment and atmosphere of the school break and the conversations eddying around the corridors and playgrounds. (Report) Reply

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