Two poems by Richie McCaffery

       Photo by Shapelined on Unsplash 

 
 
 

    Games

 

Each week it was the same –
the PE teacher would pick
his captains for the football game
and each week they were the same.

It always struck me as odd, how
the subject was called ‘Games’
when there was no fun in it at all
for the fat and fumbling like me.

Each week it was the same –
the same sequence of names
whittled down to me and Daniel
though he was more desirable.

Whichever captain who got me
would scuff and stomp like a tup
but he was stuck. Vice versa –
there’s two sides to persona non grata.

Teacher’s dead and time’s been called
but I see those bright captains in town
now and then – older, fatter, faded
and all I cared about is my own goal.

 
 
 

    Inventory of scars

 

Your skin is a map of where you’ve been
and it’s tedious to boast but I must
have hovered in harbour most of my life.

I’ve only two silvery cicatrices, on my thumb.
One gained as a pissed student slamming
a beer bottle on the bar and it shearing.

The other from a cheese cutter at a posh
party put on by my snobby ex-in-laws.
The scars are less than a centimetre apart –

one a watermark of the wild old me
who was nearly killed off by the other me,
scarred by trying too hard to fit in.

 
 

Richie McCaffery

About Richie McCaffery

Richie McCaffery lives in Northumberland. He has a PhD in Scottish literature from the University of Glasgow where he was a Carnegie scholar. He has had two collections - 'Cairn' (2014) and 'Passport' (2018) - published by Nine Arches Press. His essays on poetry have been published in places such as Studies in Scottish Literature, etudes Ecossaises, Scottish Literary Review and The Dark Horse. His poems have appeared in journals such as The North, Oxford Poetry, Ambit, The Times Literary Supplement and Magma.