Armstrong making the moon, was z. Giving that chicken
next door a synchronised Chinese burn for sidling
his angular wish-bones into our hide-n-seek: z.
Zapped, before break, your double-dare to work it
into Maths. If 4a – 4b equals 2a + 6b, what is a?
and I said z so dead-pan Sir had to scan the board.
Word got round. We were the brothers determined
to have the last letter in everything. Even Dad,
belt aloft, demanding to know what devil we’d done
in his shed, mouthed air when (backs to the outside
toilet wall) we finally surrendered our stupendous
name and rank – z – then chose bed over a hiding.
We pitched our duvet tent with knees; you shook
the torch like a cocktail to revive it. Till the dreaded Mum
brought it all down with three dull crumps from below.
You’ve got balls, you grinned. But it was a year
before I sprouted my first real cock-feather – chinned
z straight at the bully without back-up, his neck
wattle-red as he came at me, arms outstretched,
to wring mine. That night, you turned coat. Flushed
at me, shot short words at what the hell I’d expected
as you continued to tease your fringe in the mirror
and for God’s sake wasn’t I just a bit too old?
Your bedroom reeked of Elvis, and with those
few words z span away black as vinyl, became instead
that lost world the end-of-song guitar starts into
just before it fades to crackly nothing.