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Speech Therapy (1953)

I looked down at my aunt’s shoes,
stout, brown, leather, slightly cracked
beneath sturdy ankles.
Dark coat, buttoned, belted, hat.
Sat side by side on helter skelter
double decker bus.
Been to speech therapy
with static wooden toys
all the way from the 30’s.
“Now be a good boy,
sit down and play.
It won’t hurt.”
Why couldn’t I bring my Meccano?
Ship wrecked galleon
washed up by the kitchen door?
Cowboys from Dodge City?
Drunken sailors all over the floor?
In that joyless damp vestry
she hadn’t the tools.
Why no magic salve to coat my tongue,
so words would come out right not wrong?
“D…don’t want to p..play, g..go away.”
“Pull yourself up by your boot straps
and mend your childish ways.” Aunt snapped,
loud enough for passengers to hear.
My hot flush, close to tears.
She spoke to most that way,
demanding that they change.
Bus stopped, we got off.
Engine spluttered then away.
“I w..want my m..mum.”
Was all I could almost say.

31 Mar 18

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