Ahead of me the trunk sways
like a coffin down the corridors.

My parents heave it up the stairs,
drop it onto the dormitory floor.

A crater opens between us.

Retracing our steps, I see them off
at the school entrance –

turn back to unpack my loss.

Stuff it into drawers under my allotted bed,
hang it limp in the dark of communal wardrobes.

That night I lie in a row of girls
with no walls on either side
to stop me from falling

First published in Allegro magazine