A Circus of Coins

Erupted from a broken home,

Crumbling beneath a containing roof,

Where words are never honest, always silenced,

She hopes that school will offer her a home that she deserves.


Teacher, teacher, sociopath.

You can’t do this.

You can’t do that.

You will end up in a supermarket.


No good can come of you.

How he waltzes toward her.

Proud of the monthly sum he gets for failing generations.

The money clinking in his pockets. Discouragement collapsing on the benches.


Teacher, teacher, authority.

He says it and they think it’s a truth.

They will never be good enough.

Parading across the rows, redness flows, proud to have gained some power.


She sits there and stares out of the window.

Envisioning a way out.

To believe in herself.

In her dreams that she can bring to reality.


Teacher, teacher, narcissist, they see everything.

Every hope. Exiting the classroom.

She does it on her own.

But they put barriers on windowsills.


He put every effort into compartmentalising her.

A tetris of weaknesses and failures.

There was no space for her ambitions.

You can’t do, you can’t do, you can’t do.


And then the boys came. With their lists. Their numbers and ranking systems.

And the compliant girls. With their fake hair and plastic faces.

And then the burial of her own face happened.

The hours she didn’t eat in public, it doesn’t fit, then stuffed herself in night-time muteness.

Falling asleep, finally, entering a stage without criticisms.


“Self-portrait” by Elizabeth Nourse (1859-1938)

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