Chalk lines

November 30, 2014

They found the remains of Mr. Clapper,
our former history teacher,
three feet beneath the school field.
That would make him Edwardian.

A piece of chalk remains,
poised among bone digits,
like a sixth finger,
still pointing at the mouth of Matthew Braithwaite,
expecting an answer.
“Who was the fifth wife of Henry the Eighth?”

A search begins for Braithwaite,
but, such a long time ago,
nobody knows where he is.
Rumour has it he went to Thailand to find himself.

Ghost-suited forensic officers skip over the playground
and go straight to the field,
but this yields no new clues.

They ask the chemistry teacher to walk the perimeter.
They talk through the composition of chalk
and the decomposition of man,
but all he can say is, “This isn’t my field.”

The maths teacher’s algebraic alibi doesn’t add up
and X marks the spot where the sports teacher kicked off
at the drama tutor who lost the plot.

The music teacher found a note
But she’s keeping quiet about that.
They are wanting words with the English teacher.

The Geography teacher can’t quite place
where he was when it happened.
Since he was made the head, everything slips his mind.

Wide eyed, the classes line up
The police want to see all the pupils
Di! Late again!

If the police do speak to you,
Please remember the School rules
Fingers on lips, No talking.
Where you must give an answer
Please stick to the lines provided by your teacher

At quarter-past-three, the police ask me,
In a serious tone
if Clapper’s name rings a bell.
But without making a sound,
I lift feet off the ground,
and I’m home.

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