Young and too much lip,
I’m stuck on railings,

up and down the slip roads
or round the parks: topping and tailing

from a paint kettle,
mindful of bounding dogs,

that my trailing leg might topple
the gallon stock can.

I’m a gardener as well,
hacking back brambles and nettles,

freeing the bottom plinths.
Exposed: no place to shelter

or skive, not a shrub to go behind,
miles to tramp to get to the other side.

I’m less bother on railings,
out of earshot, safe behind bars,

the old board offcut my only ally,
dragged along to keep my knees dry.