START AGAIN OR HIDE 1969 | By: Terry Collett | | Category: Poem - Life Bookmark and Share


Sophia's parents
invited me to tea
one Sunday afternoon

Sophia opened the door
and I stepped
into the passageway
and she whispered
they think you
are all right
they don't think
we had sex
and they are happy now  

I looked past her
in case her old man
was listening in
but no one was there
so I relaxed

she held my hand
be careful
she whispered
do not let him
catch you out
with questions

I'll be on my guard
I whispered back
seeing how far
the front door was
from the lounge
and how fast her father
could run
if it came to it

she took me
into the lounge
her old man
was in an armchair
her mother was elsewhere
not in sight

her old man stood up
and nodded
and shook my hand
a firm handshake
a kind of finger breaking
kind of handshake

you sit
he said
I sat

Sophia went to sit too
you go help your mother
he said to her

Sophia went off
and I sat looking
at the room
a crucifix hung
on the wall
a Sacred Heart of Jesus
picture was on
another wall

how you like Sophia?
He said
in his Polishy English

very much
I said

you respect her
of course
he said

o yes of course
I said
taking in
his moving moustache

no sex before marriage
you understand
he said
eyeing me

no sex before marriage
I said
putting from my mind
Sophia and me
having sex
in her bed
a few weeks back
while her parents
were out at some
Polish family reunion

I had talked her out
of having sex
on her parents' bed
as a step too far
so she said
my bed then
and we did

I trust her
goodness and purity
he said
knitting his fingers
into a finger church
then cracking
his knuckles

yes I trust her too
I said
she is pure as pure
I added

the mother and Sophia
came in with plates
of sandwiches and cakes
and disappeared again
back to the kitchen

when did you go
to confession last?
He said

last week
I said

and I told him the joke
about the guy
who went to the priest
and said
bless me father
I last came to confessions
three months ago
how much time
have you got?

He didn't laugh

I looked at the crucifix
and felt mentally
nails enter my hands
and feet and side
wishing I
could start again
or hide.

Click Here for more stories by Terry Collett