a thrown stone from the local school,

we live, term-time

to the tune of its filling and emptying

and petit quart d’heures of play

punctuating week-days

like hole-punched paper.

dominating the rest

is the strident snap of the school-mistress

no whistle needed.

they fall in line and obedient, save for

one small résistante.

parents’ coaxing unheeded,

her cries rise,

loud and indignant

through our open September windows.

there is always one, I say out loud,

passive accomplice

of the system.