Last Minute

Waiting for the whistle, the end of dinner-time.
Sewing, this afternoon, then sport
and all the things I ought to like but Ö
Whee and the whistle
screeching out its long loud teacher note
over the heaving field, the roly-poly bank,
the flattened patch where skippingís done.
Halt the cartwheels, stop the footballs,
sheís on duty, run!

Home for dinner. I live beside the school.
Itís a soft blue lazy sort of day.
Iíd rather live a thousand miles away Ö
Whee and the whistle, shrill, on target,
belts through the gap in the fence
into our garden, finds me on the swing.
Someone calls through the broken slats.
You deaf or something, lugs?
Time to go in.

Whee three blasts and thatís the last!
Miss Devereaux has lungs
and she can wield the slipper, yet I hesitate.
Run, mouths Mum from the kitchen window
waving her soapy rubber gloves;
half-off, half-on,  they flap against the glass.
Run, or youíll be late.
But I am always at the last minute,
always last in the line.
One day Iíll stay at home for ever more
and Iíll be fine.

Annie Kissack

If you have any thoughts on this poem, Annie Kissack would be pleased to hear them.