Taylor Square – Irene Wilkie

was the centre of my existence –

trams to Bondi

          to town

          to my school 

among the Morton bay figs.

We crowded, waiting 

in a marked space on the road,

traffic brushing past

too close,

listened for wheel-grind on metal tracks,

electric crackle overhead.

Here motor-bikes skidded,

the paper-man yelled,

neon ads sizzled

and the smell of fuel,

of beer and vomit outside the pub,

of delicatessen rabbit

mixed

drifting to the courthouse and gaol 

elegant 

in honey-coloured sandstone.

Taylor Square

that busy, honking convergence

was where

my father waited for me

to return from my first date –

we were late and he was so

unamused.

That was 1947 –

our excuse, the scarcity of trams,

was true, really, really 

but my father fumed,

the air electric.

I blushed at what he thought we’d done.

We were so young.

I never saw that lad again.

I followed my father home

at two paces.