I'm eight. My mother waits in line with me
to see The Bulldog Breed.
My father's been in the navy, and also
has owned a bull mastiff: maybe
I'll find out about waves and dogs
with the pin-thin Kia-Ora straw
lodged in my gob. The credits roll
through the soft swirl of tobacco smoke,
drifting towards the rococo ceiling:
behind us the usherettes hush.
The clumsy child forever knocks away
the family china. He runs
from his mum's retort towards
imaginary cliffs, as gormless as Norman:
he is me, although the route
to a rocket isn't through the ranks.
Imagine being a nonagenarian
and still a prankster -
impossible. The audience applauds
its imaginary hands. I'm eight,
I go home happy, my head tumbling
with skids and scrapes,
ready to be old. There's no catcall
for a perfect pratfall.