They hung laundries like prayers,
these women, there, new to pants,
between Beechfield and Brisbane.
And all the actions were in the alley,
the zipper between, where we,
young thuggeries in our dungarees,
plied bicycle trades on summer days.
Even flies shunned our manes.
Fists and spit and baseball cards.
Skates and snakes and fenced-in yards.
Each these swinging statues,
thrown, frozen, spun, fastened
to concrete and rash.
And yes, there, the women,
the mothers, pinning towels
like code, pinning sheets on wire,
glancing through a breeze, they saw it all:
saw us, the young and barely criminal,
rang it up the chain.
And yes, oh yes, these mothers:
There’d be hell to pay –
There will be hell to pay –