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    The Demolished School

    Noah Wild writes on the highs and lows of growing up.

    Block A was the first to go.

    The claw of a digger smashed through the rectangular arch

    of doorways, tearing down the wooden ceiling, rotten

    from years of leaking drains, eroded cladding.

    Carpets ripped from floorboards, exposing wood

    on which footprints, preserved,

    almost rested in stasis, toe bending to heel,

    where students once pulsed together,

    rushing to lessons, or

    dawdling, taking the longer route

    with detours down past history,

    up to food tech, then disappearing.

    In those geography rooms I had spent hours,

    head down in textbooks, staring at Sarah Lee,

    in the row next to me,

    her foundation cracked around the nose,

    studded earrings, hair like bronzed ember,

    cut at the shoulders, skirt too short for Sir,

    but it was all she could afford, passed down

    from her sister, who was shorter.

    Next, the toilets dismantled,

    sinks to be recycled, scrubbed

    into new basins, to hold more tears

    after failed mocks and sudden

    dumpings; like Chloe (who Max had left

    for Yasmin, more attractive,

    funnier). She sobbed, reassured by friends

    hiding from the snap of teachers

    too busy for love worn woes,

    though Miss Green had cried in the very same cubicle

    ten years prior. Spending years of loneliness

    sitting on that toilet seat, a haven

    from slow lunch times with no friends, I knew the peeling paint

    as if it were my own palm, cream cracking, exposing

    the avocado green of the seventies. 

    Two builders chucked the piston and pipes

    into a skip at the nearest tip.

    The toilet bowl cracked down the middle,

    a shibboleth. No thought for a ceramic

    that had seen Maria’s first period.

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