Bright nebulas light the round eyes,
As the hand boy-stretches towards the shelf.
Fingers close lovingly round the prize,
Not plastic and paint but space-hardened metal.
Not lights and sounds, but endless adventures.
The shop vanishes; he is gone.
He is leaping across deserts towards a fabled city, on the edge of a silver sea.
Wrestling with monsters, gargantuan, unspeakable,
In the raw visceral depths of some alien world.
“Leave that!” says father irritably,
“Don’t break things!”
The black ink of the ordinary world
cuts swathes across the rainbow-hued page.
Slowly, oh so slowly, the gun lowers to the shelf.
Regretful fingers unclasp.
Heart pumping, all of boyhood yearning.
For lost galaxies, siren star systems;
Child-fuelled planetary dreams.
I was prepared to feel alone, expected the government-mandated 2-metre gap to yawn between us, cold and hostile. I expected these new spaces to be