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The trick was to be
asleep before the rail signalman
whispered in with his latest
girl off the midnight train

otherwise the murmurings
would go on and on
whatever the pair did—
at waking they’d be gone.

Those days when boys called you
names that rarely impressed
the girls, who danced, calling you
like Hinder and Posterio;

those days could be got through,
spit on prefects, eat downtown,
talk cadet rifles,
admire one or two.

Staying with your best friend
at his place. And his sister
coming in in worn bathers,
knocking bedframe with her broom,

a year older than you,
quiet touch in her face,
city ahead, and your lies
to dismiss her so undue.

—Les Murray

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