Radio Seventeen

by Charlotte Geater

The corridors all smelt like hairspray

not her perfume, even as she passed


so he pretended it was her hairspray

(not that she used it)


and he sat next to her in history lessons

clammily holding his lighter under the desk.


Sometimes he wanted to start a fire,

just in case she hadn’t noticed


the way he watched her,

but he never flicked it open.


He wanted to hold her hand,

twirl her around the classroom


failing that, he’d be John or Paul

and sing to her, clap everytime she smiled.


At the school disco, he asked her to dance

she didn’t like early Beatles songs


but he twirled her anyway, just that once,

almost kissed her cheek, but for


his sweaty fingers stumbling into his pockets

as she finished and slow-danced with another


mouthed along to Blondie in an older boy’s ear

and he remembered calling her, getting the wrong number.