She watches as the flag goes up,
Expecting it to shriek, but it never does.
She's sure the boy on the podium knows her name.
And the principal as well, as a matter
Of course, as she's the only one in the crowd
Who doesn't know the anthem yet by heart
Who can't bring herself to speak the language
To anyone, unless she has to, in which case
She isn't the one doing the bringing.
She's sure they'll catch her out soon, and
Take her to the front, perhaps, to apologize.
Because she doesn't know the anthem by heart
It scares her, and it keeps her down
When, as she's running with the crowd
Of students, she imagines every lap is
Once round the equator, and she
Doesn't have to be human anymore.
She's sure they must be looking for her.
Any moment now they'll pounce.
It's certain even the flag must know her name.
But she won't ever know their anthem by heart.