Sue Finch: a poem



Hopscotch


The numbers should be in a straight line ahead of me,

like a road,

or left to right

with a zero at the centre.


Hopscotching them is wrong,

it's not even that the odd ones make a

pattern for your feet to land on.


You say I should be throwing a stone

to tell me where to hopscotch to,

that just going from one to ten

is not how it is done.


I do not tell you I am only doing it

because it's there,

or that I think using a stone is wrong.

I like the smoothness of dice and counters,

the satisfaction of rolling fair-weighted ones,

the feel of slipping discs into my mouth

and rolling my tongue around them.


It worries me that the squares aren't squares

and what of the chalk with its impermanence?


I fear I cannot hopscotch with you.


It’s ok if you don’t want to play,

you are saying, I understand.


But I don't want you to understand.

I want you to change the game;

adapt the rules

and make it better.


I’ll play, I tell you,

just don’t make it stop at ten.

Make it last longer.

Make the squares as square as you can,

go to one hundred,

and find me the smoothest pebble possible.


We can’t use a stone if it goes to one hundred,

you tell me

as you pocket the chalk.



Sue Finch lives with her wife in North Wales. Her first published poem appeared in A New Manchester Alphabet in 2015 while she was studying for her MA with Manchester Metropolitan University. Her work has also appeared in a number of online magazines including: The Interpreter’s House, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Dear Reader, One Hand Clapping and IceFloe Press. Her first collection, Magnifying Glass, has been published by Black Eyes Publishing UK. Her Twitter link is @soopoftheday.