Everything was formal at the new school –
the one with the black robed clergyman,
11, most of us, some 12, but all
feeling much younger
an overwhelmed, scared if truth had been.
There were no Steves or Phils
no Petes or Andys
only Stephen and Phillip and Peter and Andrew,
even when they never had been.
never Edward, even though he was.
An athlete : hand and eye
good with a bat and ball – like DiMaggio –
Different in other ways too.
No present father, just absent, not dead
the term solo mother yet to exist
but his mum was.
I sometimes wonder how they afforded it
later enlightenment concluded, perhaps welfare.
Which might explain, what I thought preposterous –
what he told me once we were good buddies.
That he would say
a teacher, a man of God,
would touch there, and in that way.
I didn’t believe him then. I do now.