Terry Collett

Gold Star - 23,291 Points (13/12/1947 / LONDON)

After Prayers 1962 - Poem by Terry Collett

Prayers said,
hands together pressed,
Shoshana imagined
it was Naaman’s hand
pressed against hers,
his flesh on her flesh,

Amen uttered.

Her father sat
and talked of his work,
loads done,
but work nonetheless.

The mother sat listening,
eyeing him.

Shoshana mouthed food,
watched one then the other,
her thoughts on Naaman,
how close his thigh was
to hers on the bus,
and promised kiss,
yes she had promised,
but where?
(place at school,
not openly) .

Her brother sat
and forked food,
his eyes downcast,
thoughts on the motorbike
he wished to buy,
if parents allowed
and when.

And you,
her father said,
what of your day?

She gazed at him,
broken from her thoughts
of Naaman,
the boy vanishing
from mind.

All right,
she said,
watching the father’s dark eyes,
the thin line of lips,
pushing all traces
of the boy from mind’s hold.

Just all right?
the father said,
nothing happened?
no lessons learned?
no teacher imparted knowledge?
he stared at her.

The mother fidgeted
in her chair,
haemorrhoids maybe.

Shoshana looked at her mother,
sensed Naaman’s thigh
touch hers,
had French,
she muttered,
not my thing,
double maths,
did my best
(bored to tears) .

The father thinned
his lips more,
then said,
application is the key,
without that
you will flounder,
sink into the sea of ignorance
like the mass.

She struggled with flounder,
the word,
mouthed it like
an unpleasant morsel.

Apply yourself,
or we will need to have talks,
the father added.

She nodded,
thought of the promised kiss.

The mother shifted
to get comfortable.

The father talked
of packed trains,
thin mouth opened
and closed like a fish
out of shallow water.

Shoshana licked her lips
with her tongue,
softened as if
a kiss had begun.

Topic(s) of this poem: childhood

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, November 22, 2015

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