Picking out
the right sized stone
was just the start
and Lydia helped


picking up
this one then
that from
the bomb site


and showing it
to him
in her small palm
he took it


and placed it
in the catapult sack
and pulled back
and aimed


at some tin can
he'd set up
some distance away
and it go


and the tin can
went flying with a zing
and she laughed
and said


you got it straight on
and clapped
her hands together
then looked around


for another
while he went
and set the tin can
up again


on the stone wall
of what had once been
the side of a house
now blown


wide apart
he watched her
all intent


as if
she were seeking gold
or coins that had dropped  
she liked being


his ammunition collector
better than being
at home
with her snoring


older sister
and her mother
in hell frozen over mood
and her father


sleeping off
the night before booze
better here
with Benedict


being his
ammunition supplier
his right hand girl
besides he often


bought her a drink
of pop or sweets
from the Penny shop  
his 9 year old features


seeming older
and her 8 year old face
seeming younger


her hands
frail looking


skin and bones
she said
here is this OK?


and she ran to him
and showed him
and he said
yes just right


and he put it
in the sack
of the catapult
and aimed


then said
hey you want to try?
but she shook her head
no I might hit


I ought not to
and besides
I like watching you


and so he aimed again
and let it go
and it zoomed
through the air


and caught the tin
and it flew spinning
with a yelping sound
and hit the ground


and she thought
of her big sister
throwing up
in the early hours


after the binge
and night out
and her mother
bellowing out


in the early hours
you bloody whore  
and her father saying
O quit the mouth


let the kid learn
her own way
and she Lydia
turning over


away from
her sister's butt
and back
the sound of vomiting


in her ears
and he tucking
the catapult in
the back pocket


of jeans
thought of his younger sister
getting herself
run over by a car


cuts and bruises
a small scar
otherwise OK
the other day


and right
he said
looking at Lydia
come let's go


get us
a penny drink of pop
from the Penny shop
and she smiled


and walked beside him
his John Wayne swagger
cowboy hat
on his head


ready to shoot
any bad cowboys
who came along
bang bang dead.

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