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Jun 2013
The day after
Janice’s gran
had taken you
to see the film

The Ten Commandments
you had gone with Janice
to Jail Park
to ride the swings

and she talked of the film
and the parting
of the Red Sea
and the drowning

of the Pharaoh’s men
and the horses
and the writing
on the two tablets

of stone
shame the horses
had to drown too
she said

they hadn’t done
anything wrong
it’s a matter of being
in the wrong place

at the wrong time
you said
but those poor horses
they didn’t ask

to be the Pharaoh’s horses
you swung high
on the swing
your feet reaching up

towards the sky
Janice was beside you
she wasn’t swinging so high
and those poor slaves

she added pushing
her swing higher
by moving her legs
and arms

why were there slaves?
why can’t people
be nice to each other?
I can imagine Cogan

in my class
being a bit of a pharaoh
given the chance
the fat ***

you said
maybe he’s not
treated right at home
she said

maybe that’s why
he’s like that
no he’s just a prat
you said

who likes to bully
other kids
does he bully you?
she asked

he promises
to smash my face in
but when I waited
for him the other day

after school
he didn’t show
you said
my gran said

to be kind to people
and try to see
their better side
Janice said

I do try
you said
but his ugly dial
gets in the way

and she laughed
and said
we mustn’t laugh
it’s a shame when people

have to bully others
I’m sure he’s got
a good side
your feet were now

almost touching
the sky’s rim
well if he has
he must keep it

in his pants
you said
she smiled
and shook her head

her brown sandals
and white socks
seemed to scrape
the sky’s skin

but gran said
Janice almost sang
that none of us
is free of sin

and her voice drifted off
into the blue
just the two swings
on that Monday morning

and Janice
and you.
Terry Collett
Written by
Terry Collett  Sussex, England
(Sussex, England)   
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