They Said It Would Change
School bus fare was a three penny piece,
or as grown-ups would say, a thrupny bit.
Kathy, the school bus conductress, the familiar
bundles of brass coins in her verdigris hands.
School rulers were wooden with black lines. Mrs. McCourt
had a thing about pencil’s being sharp when used with a ruler.
I couldn’t decide which side of the line was the true measure.
With a folding ruler, and a pencil behind his ear,
my dad questioned me in feet and inches. I didn’t
understand eighths and sixteenths till my late teens.
At school, it was a kilogram and a litre,
at home, a bag of sugar, a pint of milk.
These days, road signs still read miles-per-hour,
and it’s ok to say I’m five foot seven inches tall.
Brass became copper, the portcullis remained and
piggy banks are not the same; some not even pigs.
Kevin Reid lives in Scotland. His poetry has appeared in various online and printed journals, such as Pushing Out the Boat, Ink Sweat and Tears, Amaryllis, The Interpreters House, The Open Mouse. He is the founding creator of the >erasure and >erasure ii projects, and Nutshells and Nuggets.