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The Emergency Drill

Written by: Chris Jones | Biography
 | Quotes (1) |
 We sat in the belly of the aeroplane
and held out for sirens to swerve across the grass;
men with cutting gear and masks. No-one came.
On a back seat, Mr. Phillips bandied jokes to pass
the time; the dark air cooling our arms
and scents like burrs stitched in hair, clothes.
In the distance we swore we heard alarms
before HQ radioed the fire-drill’s close,
and we emerged still feigning breaks and scrapes
led by teacher bandaged and bad at the hip,
attentive to this miraculous escape.
Our shadows thin creatures from the Mother Ship.

*

That view of Bob Phillips’ dance down the steps
comes back when I think of him alone
on the fairway, trailing scarves of breath
as he lugs clubs beyond the lake-side ninth for home,
and feels sharp tingles, then a rip-tide through his arm
that swells to pains across his chest.
To stand there, cry out above the calm,
and wait for hands, a touch – but Bob is destined
to collapse in thick grass, lie wide for the day
in a hide and seek open to everyone.
No-one for miles comes close to play.
His big face surprised the world is taking so long.



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