Maria Bradley
JULY 1969

One small school is gathered for assembly
in the sun-freckled shade of the chestnut tree.
Sister Bernadette, haloed by the sun
like a statue of the Virgin, says Class One,
just like the men who have walked on the moon,
will take their own small steps soon.
They will not return to skewer conkers
from St Joseph’s tree, but, come September,
step up to St Andrew’s or the grammar.
Except Michael Sullivan who will never
grow into his too-big blazer, unworn
in an unopened wardrobe. Picture his step
from behind the ice-cream van, like the boy
in the road safety poster; frozen, poised

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