In knots of fours and fives
the boys hang on the gates,
swollen with gossip,
throwing chips at pigeons.
Bulge and spike, thrust and recoil.
This is where they learn to jostle like ponies
raucous, rhythmic, terrible.
Childhood hangs about them
and these dry, bright daily ordeals
can only ever amount to micro-studies
in how far you can push things.
Here come the girls.
Cherry lipbalm, onion hotdog.
Playground seagulls drop like
roof tiles, beak first,
demonstrating the types of sighs
women may come to rely on in life.
Deep behind their school ties,
deep behind the aertex,
a tiny, spiral shift of matter,
a pile of pennies tipped over,
like a house of cards knocked down.
Shiona Tregaskis lives in London and works as a subeditor. This is her first poem to be published.