Don’t tell Miss

I remember, 

I couldn’t cope with knowing what you were doing. 

I wanted to give what I knew to someone else. 

‘cause, if it stayed part of me any longer it would rot my insides 

A sin I held onto , 

that felt like the food you didn’t want in you. 

Small bits of information you fed me on paper that 

Bloated my stomach until 

Like you, I wanted it out. 

The words digested from letters we would write 

To each other. Pages and pages of schoolgirl script 

carrying secrets, we just could not say; 

Like who we fancied, who we hated  

And stuff like that which bit into my consciousness, 

swirled around my mind at bedtime, 

sending me on Monday morning 

in a dizzy state towards her office. 

The little wooden box in the main hall with windows  

that stretched to the ceiling, sprouting from walls so high 

you could not see who was in there, if they sat down. 

Your words spewed out and she jotted notes in her book 

 in the way that she did that gave away nothing of what she was feeling; 

And asked questions, like how long and where 

then she showed me the way out, onto the streets of the school 

where I was left To find my way back to you. 

which it turned out was not easy  

After Miss had spoken to you, 

You turned off down a side alley and I was left on the cold 

Hard edge of our group, a cornerstone of betrayal 

Omitted from the chitter and the chatter of life in Year 9. 

Your mum said thanks though through the intercom 

Of the flats when I went to see you  

resolute in my belief I had done the right thing. 

Then months later you said thanks too 

And I said thanks quietly later  

In my head to myself, when I sat with the bags  

Of uneaten food in layers of clothes,

For giving me the heads up on what not to do  

When you have a problem with eating  ,

And you don’t want anyone to know.


You do not tell anyone 

You don’t tell Miss. 

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