He turns away,
vacant eyes searching across a
desks and blank faces
for something he doesn’t quite know.
The teacher repeats
his name but he doesn’t move,
word, and some of the
faces stare, some of them sneer.
fingernails long and outlined, he
the faces cannot see,
and murmurs ripple through the room.
He steps back,
soiled socks peeping from outgrown
a mop of tangled curls –
and the murmurs turn to laughter.
A hand rests
on his shoulder, the laughing
before his eyes and the
shadows disappear from his mind.
The teacher smiles
and he feels her warmth,
and for the briefest of moments,