It was an ambush. Fists and boots
in a cartwheel of dust. The boy
from the South had it coming.
Uncle Joe heard the shouts and knew
if not today under the bridge, then
tomorrow in the playground.
Best he could do was keep it clean.
Nay then, one at a time. The lads
in a circle, rolled up their sleeves,
taking turns to step into the ring:
the boy, fists held up as taught
at the Grammar, taking the pasting.
L M Dearlove
from 'Providence Farm'
L M Dearlove travelled across Europe with a theatre company and wrote a one-woman show which she performed on the London Fringe. She took a 16mm filmmaking course at Central Saint Martins and has an MA in Film from the London College of Printing. She lives near Lewes in East Sussex.