When it was nearly still acceptable
to nip the shoulder of the pleasant boy
sitting cross-legged in front of you
(leaning back and pulling the royal blue
wool of his jersey with loose teeth)
I had an elastic idea, which stretched
through the next twenty-five years. Senior
primary school's kingdom of fully grown
flax bushes and adult-sized toilets,
places to hide without being sought,
would shrink each day I endured it.
Back to the wall, pencil marked above skull,
I started to see how the world – one school
at a time – might be folded like a map.
Extract from Our Effects