THE SCHOOL CLEANER’S STOREROOM
by Anne Young
In the damp-earth dark where no child goes
Fat white bottles nestle like molars
Spray bottles clutter, triggers poised to spurt or mist
Cloths jumble in bright buckets
Germ-killer chemicals swell the air with sickly sweet
Posters and notes command: Take Care! Watch Out! Do This, Do That
A cluster of brooms shelters beneath the king mop,
wide and orange and shaggy
The vacuum cleaner coils like a ridged serpent, waiting.
They lurk ‘til the quiet of all-children-gone
Then slurp and suck and wipe and swish
Rubbish gone, mess gone, grime gone
Silent and clean
Return to the damp-earth dark
Where no child goes.
Anne says: Schools without children are like shells without the sea – remembering, waiting. Occasionally a treasure is hiding in the stillness, as I found one afternoon when I stayed late in a small rural school.
Anne Young: ‘I write in a variety of genres, mostly for children. My true love, in writing and reading, is picture books. I use them in learning activities and read them aloud for pleasure across all primary school grades. I am the author of one published picture book, Just Like Me.’
Write your own poem: Do you know of a secret place? Somewhere that you’ve discovered? Somewhere all your own? Or somewhere imaginary? It might be a cubby, it might be under your bed or in your wardrobe. Write a poem that describes this place and what happens there.