Mrs P at the piano, all rouge, nicotine and faded hair
beside her black-bunned Mrs Smith
fierce, upright, a bamboo spear:
One of you has written something filthy in the upstairs lavatory
No-one will leave the Hall until that person owns up.
No hand goes up; I can’t be sure, I’m questioning my guilt
but pressure’s building, a red balloon beats against my ribs
the urge to confess overwhelming until
out of my mouth come the words It was me.
All heads turn. Miss White, pinkly flustered, is ordered
to take me to the kitchen, wash out my mouth with soap
and gently leads me through the bacon-scented passage
where, bursting into tears I sob But Miss,
I only wrote I Love Maxie, and am saved, for what
she knows, I don’t.