The Mound

by Julia Webb

We believed the concrete mound,
round and firm as a mother’s breast,
had been put there just for us.
The slide was our anchor:
the base of its ladder
buried deep in concrete.
We ran around it like mad things,
went up and over, up and over
or poured ourselves into the mouth
of the neighbouring pipe –
wormed our way through its damp gullet.
And later, when we were juniors,
sent shaking but defiant
outside the classroom door:
we sneaked back there,
tried to make ourselves small again,
you peeling sticks
with the concentration of a surgeon
or making footballs of fir cones,
while I tried to squeeze myself
inside the concrete pipe,
felt the bitter lurch of disappointment
when I discovered
the smallness of the slide.