You played in Emile’s position

in the same primary school,

both  just as fast on the wing,

Mr Turnbull told the Merc

and there you were with Emile’s dad

in the photo, and after,

winning cups, soccer, tennis,

squash for the county once,

then dropped yourself down a level to play

with your mates. Liam, stop there.

How it was. Always blurring,

I, we, you, knew something other.

the fizz, white noise (my take),

how you said in Year 9,

drinking that coke, something

shifted ( my words).

It’s been wild, hasn’t it? Sweetheart,

you’d call me a twat

and loads more for all of this.

Happy Birthday. Baby, fish grin,

white hair, boy in the class

who made everybody laugh

but the teachers. Blue eyes, drop-

dead sexy and sound ( some girl’s/

girls’ testimony). Whatever.

Stay safe. Do just as you’re doing.

Best things and better. Twenty-one,

and counting.

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