Where the school was by Laurie Atkinson

I can never go back.
They tore down the walls behind me.
Men in yellow boxes with great metal arms
who we watched from the fence in the playground.

That fence, where the goal was,
it was black… or green.
I used to hang there in the summer,
my fingers clinging to the metal lattice
while faces criss-crossed in a blur before me.

Those baking tarmac lunches,
amongst the grit and the bark,
and the bars with the peeling paint…
Gone, turned upside down,
And thrown back to earth.
Rubble.

Inside, the corridors were cold, long,
with heavy doors and tiles on the floor of white and red.
We’d jump between them,
Amongst the hooks with our names on,
always avoiding the cracks.

It’s like I’m there
sometimes,
still hovering in a polo shirt
listening to the voices from every room,
Of years past or to come,
Rasping out their numbers and phrases
As the diggers rip down the gym and the hall.

I won’t ever go back,
though I’d like to
get in early and watch the sun rise on the windows.
But it’s dark now,
those memories are buried,
and all the blackboards wiped clean.