I want to stand naked in the school hall

by Lauren Hollingsworth-Smith

on the podium, mid assembly,
so my presence will be so overbearing no one can look away.
I want their eyes to burn into my skin, examine
its ripples and folds and the scar that digs it up
like a trench in Ypres.

I’d watch a few hundred jaws slowly unhinge,
drop down into a mass of O’s, all directed
at my body, lopsided like the projector, its florescent beams
bouncing on my raw flesh, so each goosebump
would have its own time in the spotlight.

I want to raise my arms, outstretch my fingertips,
so everyone can see my hairy armpits and wonky tits,
my nipples erect with the cold of a hundred stark looks,
so they’d know, so they’d see, I’m not perfect
and in no way do I want to be. Then,

when I’ve got their attention, I want to read them a poem
through the head teacher’s microphone, full blast
so that each naked syllable in each naked word,
spat from my naked throat, near bursts their eardrums.
Before they stand, frozen and agape, and file out.