Into The Tunnel (And Out Again)

by Jude Leese

I’d rather play in the park, I think but
at least it’s not school. I’m somewhere

completely new. It looks nice and clean but
all the grown-ups look so sad and I don’t know

why. They tell me it’s a fairly simple procedure
but I’m not so sure I would have to sleep in this room

with all these other children if it was really so simple.
There are tests and that’s ok because I’m clever but

I’m pretending to understand when really I’m
just watching the juice through the straw

and the drinking butterfly at the end which isn’t even
like a butterfly because butterflies never hurt

me. At night I get bored and sometimes in the
morning I wake up thinking I’m home but only

for a few seconds. Then I can watch the train go around
and around into the tunnel and out again. My friends

have a stethoscope and we try to listen to each other’s heart
beats but we can’t hear anything because we’re not

doctors. I like the doctors too but why do I have to
wear a dress? I don’t like it. I can’t run around

in it. Instead my bed is moving and I’m watching the
lights on the ceiling blur into one until I stop and there’s

more people. Mother, why do I have to wear this mask?
I can breathe, look, I’m fine, and it smells. I don’t want to