Every morning we were commanded
by the clang of a brass bell to fall in line
with the discipline of pint-sized soldiers.
They taught us that one early, hammered
home the importance of standing in the order
dictated by our surnames, as they called the register.
Once accounted for,
we were marched
inside and led to assembly.
We’d start the school day with the Lord’s
prayer and, to the twang of Mrs Morrow’s
guitar, we’d sing his praise in a collective drone.
On Fridays, before they let us loose
we had to write messages
to God on paper leaves.
We’d stick them to the ‘Here I Am’ tree
and sign them with our Christian names but
never learned to who those names belonged.