SISTER PUMPKINHEAD FAILS THE INTERVIEW (by Valerie Sinason)

The words in the corner of the playground
with no-one to play with
the words not picked for the
hockey team, the netball team,
the words not invited to the party

‘We are sorry to have to tell you,’
intones the letter.

‘Not for you! not for you!’
screeches the parrot
in the golden brain-cell

It is midnight and pumpkin-time

and down fall the words
down the shining palace of brain
down the libraries of bone

Down fall the words
through the graduation ceremonies
of blood cells

The words,
still in their state robes
their ballgowns and tiaras
their ‘We are pleased’s
clenched in their jewelled evening bags

The words in their best school uniform
scrubbed and plaited
with their daffodil-growing certificates
and monitor’s badge

How to pick up pick up

The words in the corner of the playground
with no-one to play with
the words not picked for the
hockey team, the netball team,
the words not invited to the party,
given the bit-part in the end of term play

The words with their anguish and anger
searching for the right face
the right way to face to fall
how to miss the knife in the funeral
under it all.

Cinderella is not going to the ball.

How to see the missing shoe,
the tear in the gown
the straw castle falling down

How to understand the words’ sad mime
It is always midnight and pumpkin time.

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