Register

Illustration by Anya Lauri

While you kids are colouring
(quietly, that’s lovely,
and it’ll last a couple of minutes)
I’ll do the register

Now, who’s here?
Sebastiano, are you here?
YES!
Elena, are YOU here?
Yes

Edward, are YOU here?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes
Marta, are you HERE?
Yes (I’d type that in a smaller font, but don’t know how)

Eugenio, are YOU here?
Si
Giacomo, are you here?
(I can see he isn’t
but there’s a tradition to follow:
calling every name)

GIACOMO, are you HERE?
I repeat for effect
NO! Sebastiano shouts back
his tone suggesting
I should know better
He’s sick
Elena informs me

Brianna, are you here?
The last name
on the register,
she’s new
the niece of a former student
from Peru, I think
her mother just told me
she doesn’t speak Italian

No answer, then
but I don’t insist
maybe next time

I modify my voice,
Two more minutes, kids,
then finish your pictures
at home.

“I don’t have colors at home”
Eugenio complains
“I have LOTS” says Edward.

Tell your mum and dad
that colors are important
I say
and everyone nods –
it’s obvious

One minute! I announce
and start tidying away
the colored pens
into plastic pots

© Daniel Stephens, 2019

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