• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 04
Image by

Report card

Back in primary school she gave me this look,
exactly this, when she knew it was me who stole
the coloured pencils from the art room drawer
between maths and PE. Knew it just by looking
at my face when she asked the question. I knew
every word she didn’t say because her eyes blazed
her disappointment in foot high letters of fierce light.
Now I can put it into words, how sorrow scores deeper
in its ground than anger’s flare. It made me sit up.
It made me slink in after the bell and put them back
and even then though her lips smiled thinly her eyes
held out for the reports. Waited to see
what would become of me. How could I ever think
she would stand before me here on this street
and know me still and blaze at me again when look,
I took it all to heart. I count the pencils back
into the box, close the drawer and lock the door
each day to keep us safe from boys like me. Wasn’t this
what she wanted of me? Wasn’t I supposed to choose?