There was a rap at the window next to the blackboard
and in they swarmed, two of them
faces blackened, a sack shouldered.
Children leapt from the perfect circle on the floor
shrieks and scampers away from these invaders
who fixed us with their blinking eyes, white rimmed
and to each of us
they told the stories of ourselves.
My tall friend was ‘forgetful’
– but it’s me who can’t
recall my own story
memory’s cloth closes over
the way time muzzles thought
dents and fingers
the smoothness of it.
But then, the youngest of us
whose curled head was lost among our shoulders
put out a hand
pushed aside the bristles of sticks
and claimed his bag