A Lone Child

A lone five year old in the
Korean English kindergarten
slips away from noisy boy
rough housing, only goes to the
boy’s toilet when it is vacant.
He shrinks back from his
classmates’ loud voices,
covers his eyes when lights
switch on, on a dark day.

The creatures in the rock pools
which he visits with his father
on Saturdays fill his mind.
and the facts in the rock pool
books his father buys him.
He recalls them all for his
teacher on Monday mornings
in impressive detail.

As Mrs Jenny walked past the
family car at the traffic lights
he called out, talked to her
at length in excellent English
as his father parked the car
at the kerb while they talked.

At the library his mother met
Mrs Margaret borrowing English
books for the kindergarten.
“Something is wrong with him?”
she asked. They both cried.
Mrs Margaret told her the
word that is not mentioned,
that parents’ love and
Saturdays at rock pools
will buoy this child
in the world.

They both fear for him
at the big state school
next year.

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A Lone Child

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