March of the Valedictorians
Ordinary primary school chairs
red plastic seats on spindly
elongated steel poles.
Like young girls and boys
they teeter unsteadily
on their legs.
Someone has taken the register
The chairs remind me of the monsters from War of the Worlds
only they are not bent on world domination
their weapons are concealed
and they can be bribed with a few sweets.
Each is defiant and wants to play.
Luckily there are instructions nearby, but
they are in Italian, so I might have misread
the bit about vaulting even though
there’s a box collar, landing area and a filled pole rack.
I’d started my run up was just about to launch
when I realised there was no trough
to plant the pole tip
so I crashed into all those legs
and together the chair fell, holding onto each other.
Guards come and take me to a prison cell
in the attic of the Doge’s Palace.
A low wooden cell where Casanova once paced
at an angle as he was 6’.
I know what to do
break the beams and prise a plate of lead off the roof
through opening work way along
the steep and slippery roof.
That’s the theory but I’m scared of heights
and they have put me in chains
probably throw away the key.
My only hope is that the chairs come and rescue me.
take off a tile and walk along with me
Rodney Wood lives in England and worked in London and Guildford before retiring. His poems have appeared in recently in Atrium, The High Window, The Journal, Orbis, Magma (where he was Selected Poet in the deaf issue) and Envoi. He jointly runs a monthly open mic at The Lightbox in Woking. His debut pamphlet, Dante Called You Beatrice , appeared in 2017 and When Listening Isn't Enough, in 2021.
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