With the eye in the back of his head
he sees them coming —
Their space-machine, so elegant
could swallow him,
drown him once and for all
in a dish of air.
No use trying to rewrite the law:
they are the masters —
skills bred in the bone.
He freezes —
they expect it,
though a voice inside him squeaks
I … Words cut his tongue,
weigh in his mind like a bruise.
© Katherine Gallagher
(Published in Them and Us (The Bodley Head, 1993) and Ramshackle Rainbow (Macmillan Children’s books, 2001)
Katherine Gallagher is a widely-published Australian poet resident in London. She writes for children and adults and has poems in many children’s anthologies. About Bullies, she says, ‘I wrote this poem in response to bullying that I witnessed in a local primary school. Bullying is tragic and a big social problem; children become increasingly insecure and afraid. Sadly, they often don’t tell anyone, even parents and teachers, and this misery can affect them for the rest of their lives’.