Terry Collett


Less Than Blue Sky.


Helen pushed
the second hand
doll’s pram
over the bombsite

off Meadow Row
Battered Betty her doll
was tossed
from side to side

there there
Helen said
can’t be helped
you walked beside her

practising drawing
your silver coloured gun
from the holster
your old man

had bought you
from the cheap shop
through the Square
you hit back

the hammer
one two three times
just like that
I can’t get her to sleep

Helen said
stopping by the ruins
of a bombed out house
she tucked the doll in

with the woollen blankets
her mother had knitted
Mum said to take Betty
for a walk in the pram

but she still won’t sleep
you put the gun back
in the holster
and pushed back

the black hat
your granddad
had given you
have to keep her quiet

around here
you said
there might be Injuns
and they scalp hair

off babes and kids
and such
Helen looked
around the bombsite

looks deserted to me
she said
pushing the pram away
from the bombed out house

you never can tell
you said
they hide
and when you’re least

expecting it
they come screaming
over the plains
Mum said you’d make

the best husband
for me
Helen said
coming to a halt

opposite the coal wharf
you drew out
your gun again
and fired shots

over your shoulder
that’s nice of her
you said
twirling the gun

over your finger
and then back
into the holster
Mum said

you would make
a good dad
one of the horse drawn
coal wagons moved away

from the coal wharf
and clip-clopped
along the side road
perhaps

you said
we could get our own
house on the prairie
or one of those houses

off St George’s Road
with the big gardens
Helen got
Battered Betty out

of the pram
and rocked her
over her shoulder
patting her back

and said
yes and I could milk
the cows and you
could hunt buffalo

and we could sleep
in one of those
big beds
with buffalo skins

over by the main road
a red number 78 bus
went by
and dark clouds

crowded
the less
than blue sky.

Submitted: Wednesday, July 03, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, July 24, 2013

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