Chocolates for Colonel Gaddafi

by Miranda Yates

Parents dance through the school doors bearing late marks,
Gaddafi is dead and they can hardly part from their yawning children.
There’s the rest of their family’s family’s lives to lead from now on.
Ibrahim’s Mummy wants her Roses for the kids acknowledged.

The newly qualified teacher is at a loss, he has had no training
in the culturally-sensitive handling of deposed dictators.
If there is a word for this gift, then that word must be ‘inappropriate’.

Her hijab is skew-whiff and an emerald scarf slinks from her shoulder.
She steadies the top of her son’s pencil, as he bears down
on his four-syllable surname, a rash of lines and wayward loops,
suggesting, for just a moment, that he has burst into fireworks of cursive.

Abdul-Malik from Year 1 sleeps against a wall during tidy up time,
two dinner ladies hug in the middle of Juniors’ packed lunches.
The children leap at them like dogs who can smell a change in authority.

For the billionaire with the underground lair and golden gun –
fingers panning through gilt wrappers spread across the staffroom table.
For the Bedouin warrior, the mad dog of the desert –
a humble tin drum now empty, good for nothing but raffle tickets.