Benedict waits
by the pram sheds
in the Square
for Lydia


to come out
of her flat
he wants to take her
to the big bomb site


behind the tabernacle
although she won't
tell her mum
where she's going as such


she'll say to the park
to play on the swings
or slide or other such thing
just as he did


to his mother
the baker rides by
on his horse drawn cart
the horse walking slow


the baker sitting
on top of the cart
nodding his head
still no sign


of Lydia
Benedict sighs
he hates wasting time
likes to be out


and at it
a man with his boxer dog
walks by
the man puffing


a cigarette
hat at the back
of his head
the door opens


and Lydia comes out
in her red and white
checked dress
and white cardigan


she looks stressed
and walks towards Benedict 
looking behind her
at the door


of the flat
got out then?
he says
just about


she says
had to help
put the washing
in the copper


and gather up all
the dirty stuff
and take rubbish
to the shoot


and just done
he nods
and says
a girl's work


is never done
as my old man says
well it is for now
she says


where are we going?
she asks
big bomb site
behind the tabernacle


he says
isn't it
dangerous there?
she says


not if you’re careful
and don't let
the Rozzers see you
he says


so they walk
down the slope
and along
Rockingham Street


she talks of her mother
being in a mood
about her father's drinking
and O yes it's all right


for him to booze
and sing
and play the fool
but it's me


who has to feed
you kids
and keep a roof
over your heads

she says
her mother said
Benedict listens
takes in


her straight hair
her thin arms
and legs
her pale features


her mouth opening
and closing
like a fish
in a bowl


they cross over the road
and walk up
 and along the street
behind the Trocadero


by the smaller bomb sites
along the narrow alley
and out
on the main road


where they go down
the subway
to get across
to the tabernacle


she still talking
about her mother
and her big sister
and the bloke


she brought home
the other night
and wanted to take him
to the bedroom


for some reason
or other
Lydia adds frowning
the subway echoes


her words
they float
then bounce
off the walls


as they climb the stairs
up and out
she stops
and looks


at the bomb site anxiously
will other kids be there?
she asks
usually are


he says
but that doesn't
matter none
they'll keep to themselves


and we can keep to ours
she bites her lip
and follows him
as they climb


between hoardings
and up and into
the bomb site
with its half standing houses


and ruins
and walls
and houses empty
with no roofs


or roofs
with only three walls
she hesitates
stands with her fingers


in her mouth
want if the Rozzers come?
she says
leave it to me


he says confidently
she follows him
as he climbs
onto a wall


and over the top
come on
he says
she climbs after him


mind you don't
scrape your knees
he says
and helps her


over the wall
holding one
of her hands
she gets up and over


and stands inside
a bombed out house
it stinks
she says


yes probably
some tramps
pissed in here
he says


not still in here
is he?
she says anxiously
no long ago scarpered


he says
he walks through a room
and she walks after him
holding her nose


looking around her
bits of wallpaper hang
from walls
a doorway with no door


a window without glass
that looks out
on an abandoned garden
full of weeds


she follows him up
a riggedy stairway
holding on
to a rocking bannister


and up
to a landing
with three rooms
going off


in each direction
he stands still
taps the floorboards
with his foot


should be safe
he says
is it?
she says nervously


course it is
he says
walking carefully
over the floor


of the room
she stands
by the doorway
what if the floorboards


are rotten
and you fall through?
she says softly
then I get


to the bottom
quicker than I came up
he says smiling
come on


he says
beckoning her over
she stands still
fiddling with her fingers


then she bites her fingers
of one hand
and holds her groin
with the other


it won't give way
he says
she holds herself
it might


she says
then we die together
he says
what away to go eh?


she looks at him
standing there
with his hazel eyes
and quiff of hair


and his hand
held out
towards her
she walks gingerly


over the floorboards
one step
after another
until she reaches


his hand
and grips it tight
and they are there
in the middle


of the room
she feeling
as if she's wet herself
and he like one


who has climbed
Mount Everest
and is about
to plant a flag


with glee
she looks at him
and he looks out
the window


as far
as his hazel eyes
can see.

View dadio's Full Portfolio