We were sitting in the classroom,
the most horrible boys in front,
the most silent girls in the back,
and the nervous teacher told us
it was now Inspection day.
After some delay
he, the man from the mainland,
entered and we were numb with fear
as he was to decide
if all was well in here.
The school could well be closed
if we did not behave; hurrah for that,
of course. We were not worried
that the school would close.
The sooner would be better.
But she, our teacher, was another matter,
the nervous little spinster,
in her twenties but already an old maid,
we did it all for her, now didn’t we?
She needed us. We knew.
We crossed our arms becoming one and true:
the perfect image of a nice primary school
with bright children, silent and God-fearing.
Then the most obnoxious boy
threw up his midday meal- oh jeez,
he had been eating macaroni ham and cheese,
his mother’s fault, she was a lazy cook
so the other mothers said, well mine did anyway-,
all over the important school inspector’s
expensive black bright shining shoes.
Teacher fell out of her role, she went all loose
and gave the boy a smack around the ear.
This made the silent girls go cry.
Their sobbing was all we could hear until we got some hope:
“Is school going to close now, miss? Oh please say yes!”
“By all means no!” inspector said, he was so rude we thought as
he did speak before his time, now didn’t he?
“To know you lot would be outside is more than I could bear!”
We sang the hymn of the good shepherd in the way we’d been instructed
and he left. His shoes were sticking every step. He firmly slammed the door.
We watched the mess that was still lying on the floor,
now flattened by inspecting feet. It smelled of sour illness.
“He couldn’t help it, miss,” a high voice said all in the back.
“It was that fucking macaroni!”
And teacher starting crying, she now looked really small.
We were not bad. We were not bad. We were not bad at all.