On the page at the back of a book,
a space where I drew my mother:
yellow jumper,
squiggle of hair,
smile weak as the smack she dealt.
It made me laugh. Other boys with fathers
were violently whacked. I almost
envied their toughness and punishment.

I painted a policeman,
a crazy tower of blue. Mother said,
if I was lost I must ask one directions.

At school, I twitched,
fuddled by English
and my eleven-times table.

The harder I thought, the denser the fog.
So I did not ask the way. I truanted,
sick, day after day.

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