The map on each school room wall was proudly red
“The British Empire,” glowed teachers.
A former colony looked up to England
figuratively and geographically.
God save the Queen. Royal tours
Vice Regals with ostrich plume headdress.
Declared a prime minister declaring war
“where Britain goes we go.”
We did. Transport a roll call of British engineering
Our cars Austin, Morris, Riley, Vauxhall
Bedford trucks. Leyland buses
coveted boy presents
runners up in desire only to Hornby train sets.
Hornby train sets.
virtual landscape of the English countryside
packaged with track, engine, tender, wagons
Micro verisimilitude – run like clockwork – macro envy.
when asked birthday wish
a train set. Hornby of course.
My mother laughed
“no you don’t.”
At 10 the same question
a new answer. “You’re too old for that now.”
“Now.” Qualification has expired.
Throwaway line as lie
“no you don’t ”
more loving than truth.
There wasn’t enough money for a train set.