Imprint by Thomas McColl

So, it’s still there after all these years,
the imprint of his hand in the concrete –
and I’m having to describe it as his not mine,
not just to create some necessary distance,
but because it doesn’t actually belong to me.

You see? My hand doesn’t fit the mould.
It’s the hand of a boy just ten years old,
and the grey matter
that let him be inquisitive and reach out
has long ago hardened.

Back then, at the age of ten,
the soft smooth blandness of cement
was definitely meant
to be livened up by fingerprints and lifelines –
a way of making permanent the future.

Now, it’s just the past set in stone,
and here I am, alone,
recalling the beating –
the glimpse, fleeting,
of your crazed face
as I fell to the ground –

all thanks to this memory aid,
the imprint I made
round the side, behind the garage,

this caught-grey-handed crime
you righted with a trowel,
despite it having already solidified,
despite it not being found by you in time.

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