On Mrs Ferdinand’s Watch

Mrs Ferdinand makes a bee-line across the playground
and prods the lip of the grass with one sternly-shod foot.
We turn in her wake; wait with bated breath
for her hand to rise and that whistle to taunt the hairs
on our necks.

After months confined to hopscotch, the playground
pressing its pocked and crumbled imprints into our knees,
it is the green light for spring – the season of grass-stains,
of lunchtimes that linger like a note trembling
on a cello’s string.

Mrs Ferdinand prowls the inner reaches of the field
with her army of tabards and pencilled lips,
but those hot weeks are spent at the fences, where
damsons swallow the sun, and goose-grass grows ripe
for each other’s backs.

The insides of our eyelids are flooded with orange petals,
by sun that seems to crawl among the grass, where
beetles shimmer like shards of glass, and our freed legs –
incandescent and lunar – become toasted while
we’re not looking.

Cherry Doyle
Poet of the Month June 2016

Playground

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