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Sport 25: Spring 2000

Janet Charman

Janet Charman

page 162

Jamaica farewell

‘the others knit gollywogs
but mine is a coloured doll
you see?
a real girl
with gold rings in her ears
and a red rib dress

with actual pants

they don't come off

she's smiling at you
with nice lips
and plaits

that stay done up

her skin is chocolate
her eyes are black’

her son the grown boy dead
in the photograph
wearing an expression i thought
he was killed by The War
but Mum says he was knocked down by a tram
on the way to school

what happened to his father
the Great Aunts live together
they have an outside bath

page 163

who is the boss?
we sip sour squash and
sit still
on a wood settee or
run outside
and round
the grapefruit tree
to melt us
when we leave
they give us money

as is the way with adults

i think i'd asked her
ninety-nine times
while she weeded the annual bed

but why
do we
live here?

and had i received
a satisfactory

the skinhead hills
the firebreak partings

but now he's gone ahead
to the new job
and found us a house to rent

she's packing up
we're moving out

page 164

we have to trap the cat
Mr Kitts
called after
the Mayor

and put in a cage
in the truck
but first

with knowing pats
she prised apart
his jaws

and poked a tablet down his gullet
to make him

and for us
because of
car sickness drama

mine crushed
in a
teaspoon of

i will never

in The Hutt

not for love
nor money