(Artane industrial school 1965)
by Edward Boyne
So, it was dark, we crossed the fields and made the road.
No street lights and no cars or trucks. We looked marked
by our regulation arse-out-of-short-trousers, bowl-hair-cuts.
We knew we had to make ground fast and get clear, out
of the watching zone. We had the tint and flush of shame by day,
by night a fettered animal step and gait and eyes that pared the dark.
We scurried faster, listening for trucks and vans. The dark
was looking at us askance, the scared skitters, the breathing fast.
Home had left us several years before but still we headed there,
'too easy to find us', doors ajar but barred, 'too many other mouths
to feed'. It didn't matter. We had no other thought. Nothing else
to throw into the pot. No shapes to throw, no bluffs to twist. Zero.
We were down to single-file, road silence, eyes now inured, the dark stare,
the looming trees, telephone poles, a wandering sheep still half-asleep.
A cold wind flailed our skin as you'd expect. The fresh pines waited
in the distant prompting. After the first stumbling, breathless, free miles,
we found our range, found the light pulse in our legs. We legged it more.
We didn't care.