My younger brother was playing with a penknife,
an old rusty blade he found on a building site,
when the bastard thing snapped shut, slicing his finger deep,
prompting a panic-scream, tears and a look of sheer fright.
From the site, across the school playground, over the Glen Road,
even a bad detective could have followed his trail of red,
through the bus shelter, down steps, under the pylon,
up the path that led to our back door and Mummy's first-aid.
The finger end was bloody red-raw and dangling,
oddly pointing both straight ahead and downwards, his white
wet face shaking from frequent involuntary sob-sucks
while mother calmed him saying it would be alright.
Today the finger is years older, well-healed but slightly bent,
a souvenir from a time we played, tumbled and gallivanted.
He does not refer to it. No one seems to notice or care about
the finger's funny shape - like childhood perhaps, taken for granted.