THE WAY OUT

What’s that smell?
That’s what they say as I walk past
The plastic bag rustles against my calf as I cross the road
There’s a hole in the bottom and I
Have to keep picking up my pencil
There’s only one
I found it at the bus stop
And surreptitiously manoeuvred it
Under my foot.
It’s mine now.
Eww.
Can you smell that?
I tug my jacket closed
So the dirt on my shirt doesn’t show
I’ll wash my uniform
On the weekend
When I don’t need to wear it
The next day.
I sit at the front
Away from everyone else
Miss, there’s a bad smell in here
Can you open the windows
Miss shuts them down
Puts a piece of paper on my desk
And accidentally drops $2 beside me
I move my foot to cover it
I gave it back to her yesterday.
The mutters will begin as soon as I leave this room
But I don’t care.
My clothes might smell
But I’m more than my clothes
​This is my way out.

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