When I wished my name was Anna

Emma Lee

As the others settle into the end-of-term

going-through-the-motions of set exercises,

I’m marked as different. The maths teacher

tells me at length about the character Emma Peel,

although I’m too young to have seen the TV series.

My relief at recognising words in the foreign-to-me

language he speaks seems to encourage his view

he has an audience of one. What middle-aged male

wouldn’t want the attention of a teenaged girl,

even if she is shifting and inching away from

the enthusiastic descriptions of a female actor

in a leather catsuit? The rest of the class,

happy not to have the teacher’s focus, aren’t

about to rescue a girl too conscious of her own lack

of weight and her uncertainty of speech,

waiting for chance to divert his monologue’s flow.