The School Teacher

for Ben Hazlett and NICS

 

The showering, brushing of teeth, careful

straightening of hair into sharp smooth planes

gives her order and containment like certain yoga

poses. She removes the odd eyebrow hair, which

 

grows outside the row like a weed. She bends

to water each plant individually. She visits the

local beautician. The first hairs waxed off her leg

leave a long clean strip like a runway. They

 

discuss yesterday’s plane crash – it ran out

of fuel and went into the water near Headstone,

only half had time to get out their life jackets –

she thinks of them in the cold dark, that wide

 

trough of panic. Her fingernails are buffed into

neat pink shells and her careful makeup

presents a front as solid as Captain Cook’s

Monument. She wonders what it would

 

feel like to discover an island. Who will

remember her flat little life, its 50 minute

segments? She stands in front of another

class and is struck by the acceptance of

 

imperfection which has crept up like the formation

of wrinkles. She used to enjoy stuffing little heads

full of information until they were bursting like

suitcases. Her expectations have been replaced

 

by a pervasive feeling she has been let down

by something or someone. She has forgotten

hope – how it feels to rush headlong into the

future: a plane as it lands, the brakes straining,

 

pushing out, pushing through

 

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