Michaelmas – Trinity – Lent

Michaelmas term
The boys press cracked lips
Some trimmed with purple, brown and fur
Plush red like velvet
Stick and stop
Words they lose
Called back
Like vapour rising over the playing fields
Leave jagged cutout frost footprints
Erase and rewind each day
You are now growing up

Far in the distance
The vanishing point of
Railway tracks
The snap of jaws
You will not see this again
Whole world ruled by
A single adjective – school
Prefixed like a frown
Rules, uniform, scarf, song
All lined up like toy soldiers

Lent term
The air no longer full of needles
New year bright light
Shows furrows on the face
Scored lines like concrete shadows
We fold youth over on itself
And push hard
Feet idly kick
Chairs, desks
Idly kick
Fingers, ribs, kneecaps
Idly kick
Retreat to the stones
Of personal space
Tiny insect
Chirping fountain pen
Tap tap six-legged keys
There is nothing to pull you out
But a quick
Stolen breath
Allows something meagre to slip in
The space of a gasp
We cannot sleep
The surface of summer
Still so far away
Scratch out words like
Seeds from the soil
Paradise Lost preferred
To the rise of a new spring
Tightening the panorama
From the high window.

The slivered shadows fatten
Now there is nowhere to hide
We scuttle from doorway to doorway
Watch the scented cuttings of spring
Pass – fleeing creatures
Freedom is across the horizon
Stippled with workshops and bars
In formal shoes we haunt
Collide like billiard balls
Wind down the taut muscles
Forget the horrors of bruises
Unforgiving leather
The sun focused through the high window
Like a lens
Burns away
Pine forests
The small insects
Things are growing on the cellular end
Lips smooth out and soften
Unfold in water
White shirts gleam
And hollow out the eyes
The space behind
We are blank and vacant
Ready for the recoil of summer
And another year like an eyeliner streak



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