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July 2013, vol 9, no 2

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Peter Butler

Class of '52

entering the room
unzipping faces
for ones we know

She, so active behind the bike shed, repents, takes holy orders, gives them back, weds a gambler and a number of others. He, brightest in our class, gets to Oxbridge, discovers dope, drops out, hits a cop, gets clean, counsels the homeless.

She, with the port wine stain who hides her face, seeks answers from a specialist, wins the title 'Miss Brigend', produces a brood of six with several lovers.

first day
our uniforms
a size too large

He, never academic, trains as a roofer, falls down on the job, wakes from a coma, builds a future out of new and safer wheelchairs. She, little Miss Charity – ever helping others – helps herself to a widow's pension, wears the pallor of time inside, applies for benefits.

Friends reunited over coffee and cake: Pam, Rod, Lynn, Brian, Janey and I.

We meet today. Just one of us without a stick, and none with much to say.

the bell rings for break
time to mess about in the yard
days like this of fun and innocence

From Peter Butler's new collection, A Piece of Shrapnel, HUB Editions, December 2012.