A bugle shattered silence and the band
packed chrome and brass away. My father strolled
towards the stranger, nodded, stopped,
offered him the makings and began
to roll his own — asked casually ‘What mob?‘
‘The Tenth’ — another recognising nod.
Two cigarettes rotated slowly. ‘Tenth?’.
‘At Pozieres?’ A longer silence — ‘Yair‘.
My father’s rolling fingers slowed and stopped,
l heard him mutter ‘Jesus’. Both men stared
at nothing for a time. Then fingers moved again,
twisted cigarette ends and the men
returned to speak of other things, And  l
remember wondering what kind of town
this Pozieres was, what went on there, why
had Christ become involved in it — why they
had kept their private silence, what had held
their fingers still — and why they looked away.


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