Recovery Position

Today at school

I learnt how to put somebody

Into the recovery position.

The teacher, an old greying man

Who has a face that you never remember

Asked for a volunteer to use

As an example.

Nobody stepped up.

Nobody spoke.

Nobody drew attention to themselves.

Nobody wanted to be touched, or moved by an old man.

In the end,

Our other teacher had to be the volunteer.

We where shown the correct way

Of doing it,

Then told to get into pairs.


We came alive

No longer under the threat of him coming near us,

Hurriedly turning to our friends

Half-asking, half-begging to go with them


And calling

And mucking about

We spread about the room

With one person on the floor, playing dead

And the other moving their awkward limbs.

The girls laughed and

Tickled one another

Curling up into balls and refusing to uncurl.

The guys got into fights over who had to

Lie down on the floor and

Demonstrate first.

At the end of the lesson,

The elderly man called us back

Stressing how important it was

That we where confident in out abilities

And that

In a real situation

We kept the lid on our on panic

And dealt with the problem in hand.

The bell cut him off


And we scurried off,

The girls already gossiping of how he

Was looking at one girl’s bum,

The boys already forgetting him

And moving on with their day;

Moving on to the next lesson;

Moving on.



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