Penthouse March 1963 by Rodney Wood

I’m Chris Wood aged 57

I’m sitting on a radiator in a chapel
crematorium in Manchester
listening to Big Al talk about my cousin

he was a brilliant decorator
(he did some work for Jason Orange)
he loved practical jokes
(painting front door panels in different colours)
his laughter flattened the grass at Old Trafford
and all of this was new to me.

I wish I had known him better
I wish I’d kept in touch
(we didn’t even exchange Christmas cards).

When he was 8 and I was 5 years older.
I was sitting in the lounge with my parents,
Aunts and Uncles when Chris walks in waving
a glossy magazine and says “I found pictures
of naked ladies under Rodney’s bed.”

My face turned red and it’s turning red now.
I remember rushing out the room
and throwing myself on the bed.
So much for the cool teenager I wanted to be.

Decades later my parents, aunts and uncles
are all dead and I’m the only one left
who remembers the story and the picture
of a smiling Cynthia Maddox on the cover
draped in a pink towel with a bunny logo.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Rodney Wood is retired and lives in Farnborough. Currently holds the flag for the Woking Stanza and revising a novel, The Poet Assassin. His work has recently appeared in magazines such as Tears in the Fence, South, The Frogmore Papers, Message in a Bottle, The Lake and Stride.

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