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.