Mrs. Howison from the Highlands;
her heaven chime with Devon,
mine with midden.

Mrs. McCanna, no stranger to a fish supper,
skin clammy with salt'n'vinegar,
declared me out-of-order.

Mr. Beckham replaced his stroboscope
with a boy, propped on a box,
set to shout "flash" every five seonds.

Mrs. Cash balanced breasts and maths
on my shoulder until I keeled over
on first contact with her mouthwash.

These were my teachers
and I have spent my life unlearning
every lesson they taught me.

Today, in a grocery store, a stone's throw
from Turin's multi-ethnic centre,
a child barged into me at the fish-counter.

Scusa, I said, with enough sarcasm
to poison an ocean.
He didn't even look at me.

Foreigner of shit! he replied
in BBC vowels, and I wondered
who had taught him that one.

:: Rob A. Mackenzie, in qaartsiluni

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