In the dim classroom,
sliding towards solstice,
translucent paper is
cut into coloured squares—
arranged slapdash by one half
while the other struggles for order.
The smell of white glue on the tressel table,
caked on children’s fingers,
hardened under uncut nails
for mums to scrub and curse tonight.
A piece of red crepe, drenched and discarded
streams across the white plain.
The teacher and her assistant
orbit in opposition
around the table and aprons—
cut shapes, recap felt-tip pens,
speak to disorder
as though words could smooth
the rough edges of our Christmas lanterns.
At last, lights raised,
we squint through the
and see our Christmas futures
slowly draw near.
Stuart Rawlinson is a British poet and musician, currently based in Brisbane, Australia. His poetry has been published in several publications including Black Bough Poetry, Nightingale and Sparrow, Wellington Street Review and Adelaide Literary Magazine.