Standing alone by the bus stop,

My hair sticking to my head

Under the straw school hat.

Opposite, the wood shimmers in the heat.

No bus comes, but someone stands behind me.

I hear his breathing, but I don’t look round.

‘Never come when you want them, do they?’

‘No,’ I say, and take a step away.

‘Going to school?’ I nod. The sun beats down.

‘What happens when you misbehave at school?’

And now I will the bus to come, or any one.

But there is no-one, and the too quiet road is empty.

‘Do they take your knickers down and spank you?’

This is what my mother said would happen,

But I can’t remember what she said to do.

‘I’d spank you if I had the chance’.

His breath is whistling in his nose, he coughs.

‘I’d give you–’

‘Here’s the bus,’ I almost shout. A lovely flash of red comes over the hill.

It stops.

I clamber on, full of relief and look around to see him walk away,

His mac belt swinging.