Squalling among the faded roses
our Margie narrated your shame,
cleaned you up with care.
Not my big boy.
Only a baby.
Years later you flipped the latch,
ran from your
second ‘for his own good’ home.
Our Marie hit the roof
when me and Pete rounded the corner,
stinking of beer, you as our prize.
‘You should be ashamed of yourselves!’
You were only seven.
They waited for you at that corner,
knocked you back among the roses
with tyre irons from the cars you stole.
The nurses cleaned you up,
a bunch of aunts at your bedside
and then your grave.
Mute black crows.
Flowers, tears and shame again.
You were only nineteen.