Mr Watanabe

We always did our best to stage the math teacher
For the hour that we had him.
Little, like-minded menaces managing to meddle in
The five minute breathers Mr Watanabe took
Outside the room
To turn our desks around and fold our notes
Into paper planes, to glide them toward
The chalk and black board.

I saw him pace past the classroom window
With a sunken, red face and a glazed, sweaty brow.
His glasses slid down his nose and his fingers
Pushed them back up as my peers leaped
To bat the light-shade with their pencils
And their rulers.

I saw him pinch a pill from a tiny, plastic bottle,
Chuck it down his gullet with a slug of water
Not knowing it his was aid,
As the bottle rockets were to calm the boys
In our morning science lessons.

Ours mind were like our paper planes.
So quick to fold, so quick to fly,
Ignoring the consequences of the crashes.

I don’t think he knew it was me,
Who served his caramel shortcake and black coffee
But I knew it was him,
And I should have had the strength to say it before
He walked away with his suitcase and passport.
“Mr Watanabe. I’m sorry.”

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