Year Ten Drama on the South Bank

We’re the drama class

I guess that explains a lot:

Our feet don’t touch the pavement

Another one of our games

too scared of contagion in the tarmac

of sticky gravity grounding us, grinding us to grey pulp between paving slabs

when what we want to do is grow, grow up.

We pretend we are trees (how well-practised we are!)

but we dare not stand still

and thus we advance (on Dunsinane).

How well practised we are! How nicely we can play that scene!

Each of us is a vessel, and we promise we contain only what our lessons will require:

we carry rulers, and booklets, and single hole punches, and our best essay pens,

carry scripts, and post-its, and emotion like a compass-

the type that guides you, makes a map of the lines in your mind

or the kind with a sharp point.

When I say vessel, I mean messy folder: cracked spine, broken-in back

the compass points cut into us, us being the fallible thinness that is teen girl,

the oaky veneer that was once a whole tree, that now shields a person who might get punctured,

might get cut down too.

We walk on loose-leaf paper legs

which were once whole trees as well,

and may soon become paper cranes or music notes.

We’re always looking for the next thing to be

to fold ourselves into

to carve out of our bodies

how well practised we are!