The Joke

One lovely day last summer

I was stroking along my street

Well content with the sun's deep warmth

The soaring height of our shading trees

And the thick growth of hedges

Flush to the walls beside the pavement

Often spilling into my footsteps.


As I eased pace to enter my complex

Suddenly, out of the dense bushes

Leapt a growling ANIMAL -

Arms extended with curved claws

Legs wide, teeth flashing

Snarling -

Right into my path

Stopping me dead with an astonished yelp.

I almost wet myself.


But, if I was surprised

It was nothing compared to the young lad

Still in attack crouch

Staring up at me with stricken eyes.

Eight ... nine ... ten … maybe.

Frozen with panic.


'Good God, Child!

You could have given me a heart attack!'


'I thought you were my mother!'


It took a moment to digest that.

I glanced behind me.

Half a block away was a young woman

Pushing a pram

Eyes cast into the carriage

Happily chatting with the baby

As she strolled along.


'Good God, Child.

You could have given your MOTHER a heart attack!'


'Are you going to tell her?'


My whole childhood bolted through my head.

And I knew:

This could have been me.

It so could have been me.

Crouching there

Knowing I had done a really stupid thing.


'Of course not. It was a joke.

But not a good joke.

You look a sensible lad.

Remember to think before you act -

Especially with jokes.'


I turned into my entrance.

He ran to meet his mother.

The episode was closed.

I wouldn't know him again

If I fell over him.

But I clearly remember that moment.

And I do wonder if he ever thinks about it.


It's our secret.



Cynthia Buell Thomas

March, 2019


◄ Mild February In Manchester, 2019

Oratory ►


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Don Matthews

Sun 3rd Mar 2019 21:31

I like it Cynthia. Thanks for sharing the moment

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Sun 3rd Mar 2019 20:35

It's a great moment, Cynthia, I enjoyed your poem.

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Sun 3rd Mar 2019 15:08

Whenever this scene crosses my mind my whole self just smiles from deep inside. I thought someone else might enjoy it too. Just for fun.

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