Thorax

In Ormskirk Town on Friday nights the pubs heave forth a crowd
Of drunken lads and lasses, all singing, shouting loud
Making wisecracks, telling jokes, all shopworn even then
Trying to cadge a cig or two from off the older men
I stood in Ormskirk bus station on one late summer night
Way back in '71 it was, in June and still quite light
Working through a bag of chips, waiting for my bus

Keeping out of harms way, not making any fuss
A girl passed through - a striking vision - taller than the rest
Short skirted and suede booted, tight fitting grandad vest
Whistles sounded from the lads perched on the wooden seat
And some began to follow her as she walked along the street
Down towards the clocktower, pace quickening all the while
Ignoring catcalls and gestures, unspeakably vile
"I know why they're all chasing her", spoke one who stood alone
To no one in particular, he continued in that tone

"Have you seen the thorax on her?" he then unleashed his theory
And turned to me with bloodshot eyes, his breath, woodbined and beery
I made no riposte, but ate my chips, he helped himself as well
Then felt the need yet again, the whole wide world to tell
"Have you seen the thorax on her ?" his words hung in the air
And echoed round the bus station, as I was standing there
He spoke to all and no-one, beneath the evening sky
Many must have heard him, but none did make reply
"No wonder they're all after her" he yelled with knowing gloat

"You should see the Thorax on her", he strained his drunken throat
He spoke no more, silence resumed, a gloom fell on the station
As if we all were stunned by his unique observation
In my addled brain I tried to make some muddled kind of sense
Exactly what his point was, I really felt quite dense
Recalled my hazy, forgotten lessons in '0' level biology
Tried to visualize the concept of his chosen terminology
Did the thorax on an insect come just below the head?
Or, I thought with indecision, was that the abdomen instead?

The more I thought the more confused I became and even more so
His reference to her thorax meant which part of her torso
This strange expression that he yelled, it lingers with me still
I never heard it used that way again, perhaps I never will
I suppose when all is said and done, this is what we find
It's very strange how such a thing, becomes embedded in your mind
Those foggy misty memories, clog up your inner brain
And then come back to haunt you so many times again
To use a word like thorax in such an odd location

One Friday night, so long ago, in Ormskirk town bus station

Richard Raftery