Change Your Mind

Entry by: Seth Dinario

27th September 2018

He roots through the rotting mound of
organic matter
for half an hour in a smurr of rain,
hands burning with the cold,
stomach clenching with emptiness,
the stench of decay and failure

The booty after this shit-tip treasure-hunt?
A maggoty apple;
the near-flensed carcass of a fowl and
a hunk of damp bread, mottled with mould:
he intends to share this with his kin.

But he can always change his mind.


He's been in the freezer aisle at
Waitrose too long; still hasn't seen
anything he wants. He considers
scooting outside to the Range Rover
to grab his gilet, but at that moment
spies Massaman Prawn Thai Curry
and Smoked Salmon Risotto.
Chucks them both in the basket.

He takes a shortcut home which
aims him past their favourite
takeaway. On the approach he
fancies he can smell cardamom,
garlic, onions and coriander. He glances
at the shopping bag in the passenger seat,
then indicates left - before it's too late.

He can always change his mind.


His chest may heave and legs burn,
but that fades when juxtaposed
with the vigour
which sears from toe to scalp
as he jinks, swerves, feints and
draws back his foot...
to shoot? No, it's a pass, a neat-one-two
with Jimmy and then he's free to score.

He smacks the ball towards two girls in goal.
One, a shrieking, dirt-faced urchin, avoids it
but the other is
Jenny Templeton
and it hits her
on her perfect nose.
She gives him a withering stare
over her cupped hand
as if to say
"I'll get you later."
And he's sure he will try to escape.

But he can always change his mind.


"Give me the controller!" is bleated
for the fifth time
but it is an older sibling's
right and pleasure to hold coveted
things always out of reach.
Tears threaten. Face contorts.
His laugh just gets wilder.

Even when trusted with childcare
duties for the first time, at sixteen.
Perhaps because the power has risen
to his noggin, or maybe promises
in the style of an adult, do not add up to
mature actions
when supervision
and correction
don't come home
until eleven.

Younger brother
stomps upstairs
huffing and still
He peruses the choices:
GTA 5, Fifa 19, Spiderman.
In the end he plumps for Fortnite.
Puts on the headset and sees Thomas
is already playing, on the other side of town.

But he can always change his mind.