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The Bad Child

Lorna Crozier
From:   Everything Arrives at the Light. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1995


One teacher made the bad child
crawl under her desk and stay there
till recess. It seems strangely sexual
to him now, the dark, the musky smell of her.
Another made the bad child stand
in a waste-paper basket, pushed
wet gum on the end of his nose.
He stood there till he fainted, keeled over
with a crash. One teacher hit the bad child
with the pointing stick when she spelled a word wrong in the spelling bee.
Another made the bad child rise,
show the class she had wet herself,
a yellow pool around her desk.
One teacher made the bad child eat his words
till he gagged on paper, mouth blue from ink.
One touched the child, so very bad,
where he wasn't supposed to,
another broke the bad child's toes
when she wouldn't stop skipping,
one cut off the bad child's fingers
because he drummed and drummed his desk.
One chopped the bad child into bits.
We watched her bury the body
beneath the monkey bars
where every winter on the cold metal
bad children leave their tongues.



Lorna Crozier's works copyright © to the author.


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