last night i dreamt

that my whole school had filled up with

water. the flood started with the corridors, inches

of murk darkening

the beige of the carpet into cloudy nutmeg, kissing

doorways and corners and the soles

of our shoes.

it spread into the classrooms, creeping

slowly up the desks until our test papers disintegrated

into cloudy white shreds, until

whitman was waterlogged

dark clouds of algebra spread out

into the water like mermaids' hair

and the

autonomic nervous system was

nothing but damp disorder.

(someone left the taps on overnight.)

in the staff room teachers floated, serene

on cheap plastic chairs

and ate breaktime biscuits from

where they had been

dissolving, quietly,

in the bulging mass of waves.

the bell rang for lunch (muffled)

and children dived for

coins, surfacing again triumphant

with handfuls of rulers and

rubbers and compasses. we did not

leave; we could have swum

for shore, opened a window perhaps, but

we did not

(why?)

and we dived and trod water until

our faces

touched the ceiling

and we tasted water with every breath

and when i woke

at six to the drill of my alarm clock

it was a surprise to find

that i had not stopped

drowning.