Janice said
she wanted to show me
how well she skipped
with her new skip rope


I watched
as her small hands
held the wooden ends
and her arms


circled like windmills
and her feet
lifted from the ground
in an odd dance


the rope going over
and under
over and under
have a go


she said
no it's OK
I said
let me show you


how good I can draw
my new gun
from my holster
I said


the toy gun
at my side
a brown hat


(an uncle's trilby)
on my head

she watched me


her red beret
on her head
the lemon dress

I liked her in


the black plimsolls
touching toes
I took out the gun
and spun it


around my finger
like I’d seen
in the Jeff Chandler films
my old man


took me to see
my other hand
spaced at my side
I put the gun back


in the holster
and on the count of
I drew the gun


in the blink
of her lovely blue eyes
as 1-2-3
bad cowboys


(invisible to her)
fell and died
can I have a go?
she asked


sure you can
I said
so undid the belt
and holster and gun


and handed them
to her
to put on
which she did


in clumsy fashion
all fingers and thumbs
once she was ready
(at her own


female pace)
she said
count me in
so I said ok


and counted 1-2-3
and she went
for the gun
and sent it


through the air
catching sun light
on the silvery parts


as it fell
to the ground
with a clattering
spark flying


cap banging

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