I walked hedged in, the uniform,
longed for school grounds, too long for run;
inviting thump, in chest, on ribs,
caged in, the strain for flight not fight,
adrenaline, hormone within but all about.
Face front, two privet edge, alone,
onward, knew paired, voices behind,
told sniggers dare not look or turn.
I heard cleared scouring mouth for spit,
and knew the score, gob land in hand,
its filter, fingers, slow to land.
Steadfast unaltered gaze and pace,
slight swing of arms, chain necklace chime,
aware its drip, strings to the slabs,
that snicket path, where dawdled fast.
Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church due to Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, including The Parliament Literary Journal. His blog is at