Bad

I remember well the stretch of his vest
as she pulled him towards her, across the school desk:
a little woman, with thin purple lips.

You are bad, she mouthed –
at six, he would have smelled her hot breath
and felt her spittle on his skin.

I remember then how miss told him:
You will never amount to anything.

Playtime

Ding dong the bell for crying out
loud but don’t hear reprimands half cocked
corridors run white socks falling to catch
imaginations lit like tapers ready to

come hail or shine grass cuttings or
snow girls flew out to archeologically
dig this unspoken urgency bending our
bodies into new shapes but never

did we build igloos are for boys for us no
kiss and tell you what no silly games fizzy
sweets like answers lay beneath twenty
serious minutes of comradeship and green

knees.