'Just tickling', but his grasp betrays the lie.
Outside, the playground squeals its playground fears.
He splays the me-child, flesh against his thigh,
Manoeuvres that shame shudder down my years.
The nature study jam-jars wink: I spy!
Bewilderment throat-retches into tears.
'Thank you'. He thanks me! Knowing no-one knows
Nor must, I tiptoe-flee, pretend to play,
Then work, smile, work, and up the goody goes -
Top of the class to teatime shine the day.
The teacher tends his purpose; nothing shows;
Un-crease the child, use, re-use, toss away.
My smile survives, until in middle age
I'll shift the slab, and liberate the Rage.


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The Gatehouse