I hear the clang of the bell and I see myself
running on cold concrete across the school playground,
knees gashed and grazed, naked elbows protruding
from a worn out cardigan.
Tucking dress into my knickers I tipple up
the sooty black wall, feet firmly planted against its solid face.
Blood rushes and reddens already rosy cheeks while
grit grabs the fleshy palms of my hands.
The skipping rope flies high, in time to
‘Polly’s in the kitchen’ and I get a stitch doing the skipping.
I run away screaming as someone shouts ‘Kiss-catch’, NO-ONE
misses snotty nosed kisses from bullying boys with tide marks.
A small tin of Tics, tucked in my pocket
Rattles and tinkles and brings all friends running.
‘Share or you’re dead.’ claim a clamour of voices
And a handful of hands are grabbing and jabbing.
The bell clangs again and Miss Ellie takes charge
‘Line up in order and don’t make a noise.
Boys on the left and Girls on the right.’
She marches us back through the great gothic doors.