Five years feeding, oh
sweet love with needy fingers:
growing up is tough.

Slugs his way to school,
lagging; lugging a back pack:
breath laborious.

Our boy is crossing
over roads he doesn’t know:
sees but a hard place.

His angel arrives
hot with exasperation:
in a scratched black car.

Those troubles tumble
beneath his great potential:
plugging a sinkhole.

Down he falls, silent;
mum screaming Get Up, Get Up:
always a slowcoach!

Grit in our eyelids,
we kneel down at the roadside:
and the traffic slows.


(Son, your plastic helmet has fallen
over your eyes and you struggle
to point your sword and hitch
your armour and hold your shield
and the ferocious dragon is coming).

Mum says the dragon won’t get me
but I’m not so sure. She always
says things won’t get me, but
The hoover bit me once,
and a verruca HURT MY TOE.

(I watch through the window
and wait for the battle to unfold;
drawing up to your nearly three feet
you swipe at the creature
but now it flies at you again).

Aaaagh! This fiercest dragon has spines.
He is a purply, orangey, scary blue,
with eyelashes longer than pencils
and my- brother’s- disappeared
inside the house real quick!

(You glance towards the house
and I back into the shadow,
trying not to interfere.
Who was it said you should
fight your own battles?).

If it just stays still, I can jab this
flaming long tongued dragon
with my trusty sword and
it will never come into my garden,
not into my garden ever again.

(You roar and run towards the dragon.
Its red jaw yawns and I put my hand
on the door handle, ready,
but you thrust your sword
and in a fit of pique the creature
rears up, sheds its tail-and is gone).

HA! TAKE THAT! dragon. I knew
you couldn’t beat me. It’s always
always going to be this way? Get it?
Me and my sword; you and your
dodgy breath and pointless tail – bam.

(You turn towards the house
to give me a triumphant smile and wave.
It seems you knew I was there
all the while).

Mum, I got the stupid dragon!

(With your lovely open face,
your inadequate armour, your thin
plastic shield, there are many
terrible dragons waiting:
raging and relentless. You know
I’m pretty useless with a sword,
But, my dear son, please call me
if you ever need a hand out there).