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February 16, 2006

My mother knows I’m here,
down behind the front seat in the dark space
where people in the back seat put their feet,
with gritty bits and half a rotting leaf
and a sweet paper sticking to my hand.
I just fit in here, hidden, squeezed in tight.

My father doesn’t know I’m here;
just off the London train smelling of the Times,
opening the car door tiredly climbing in –
he doesn’t know I’m here, and she pretends.
Crouching in my little place I wait,
my tummy quivering with a secret laugh.

I’ll wait until we’re driving up the hill
I’ll wait until I can’t wait any more
and then I’ll pop up just behind his head
and laugh out loud into his shiny ear
and listen to his marvellous surprise
‘Good heavens! I didn’t know that you were there!’

by Polly Blackley

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  1. MB
    February 16, 2006 at 10:06 am

    “my tummy quivering with a secret laugh”
    “and laugh out loud into his shiny ear”

    It’s the details that bring this poem to life. An utterly charming sketch of a child’s sense of suspense and pleasure.

  2. February 17, 2006 at 11:02 pm

    I loved the suspense in this poem, the anticipation of something dark in the sticky sweet paper and the rotting leaves … and then the laughter, the secret released into that “shiny ear.”

  3. February 21, 2006 at 6:49 pm

    The origin of joy! What a delight to read.

  4. March 1, 2006 at 3:08 pm

    Yes, that shiny ear really stands out–and the marvellous surprise, both for the father in the poem, and for us, the

  5. March 4, 2006 at 1:22 am

    polly, what an endearing memory. i must’ve done that once, because it seems as if it is my memory! i had a very affectionate relationship with my dad – i was lucky that way. thanks for sharing yours.

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