I’ll never forget David
Coming to school in a dirt-caked oversized jumper
washing his grubby face and hands in the school toilet sink
with the cake of soap, I’d provided.
“They burned the floorboards in the grate,” the Social Worker said
“I had to take her shopping and show her how to budget and cook
and He wasn’t much better.”
But of course, David wasn’t removed. Stayed with his family unit
because she adored her children, just didn’t know how to
pay the bills, or cook or clean.
I organised a trip to the pool and the park and took her aside.
“He’ll need some swimming shorts but we’ll pay for the trip so he can go with the rest.
and she beamed her approval and said she understood.
So I thought no more about it
his little radiant face looked up at me at the side of the pool
amidst the giggles from his more experienced class classmates
spilling out from the changing rooms
and I looked down at his new orange trunks over greyish underpants
on a little ingrained body with white hands.
Of course I ran him to the showers and explained
what needed to happen next so there would be no further embarrassment
just a little too late.