Working Class Pacts

(Resemblance to any living or dead person
or other is purely coincidental)

When I was a kid, on the East Reservoir estate

everyone called each other’s pets by the surname

of the family. Kim ‘Meredith’ was a Labrador

slobbering so much saliva pools were left at gates.

His dad was a carpenter and known

for voting Communist and had shiny chisels.

Flopper ‘Cochrane’ was some sort of spaniel

droopy ears from posh people with a car,

they must have been in exile with an apple tree,

they also looked older than the street.

Yipper ‘Leighton’ a cat with only half a tail

came over the back by the new linking avenue

from the Finnish family who gave me bread

exotic dark braided shiny with egg wash.

Pirate ‘Olsen’ was what mum called

a ‘dirty’ Lassie dog and humped all that moved

or didn’t, dug up sand pits and peed on your door.

Gyp ‘Thompson’ was a German Shepherd

everyone was scared of but remembered

who won the war, even while crossing over

to the school side of the parade still a paddock.

Everybody walked in and out back and front yards

to go to Irene’s dairy, but stayed clear

of the other Buchanans, they had chooks and a crazy rooster,

and if you didn’t hurry would try to borrow money.

The shop was in a shed out back

with ice creams in a freezer, her old dad

played a banjo and several blue budgies sat at his neck.

We had a black dog bolted via a left open gate

hit and killed by a car within seconds,

in those times a driver would come and say sorry

I don’t remember that one’s name, really.

Just managed to spot myself!

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