Water boatmen sculled in the shallows
under the scrutiny
of miniature naturalists, who
pulled rocks from their shingle bed,
turned them to examine aquatic creatures,
tiny specks of life.
Boys splashed around the river bend,
drowning out warnings
of deep, black water.
They returned with an eel in a bucket,
their prize for watchful waiting
and bravery beyond their years.
Back in the classroom we were silent
over the bowl, as dark muscle slinked
its last before fascinated eyes.
The small piece of flesh tasted of mud
and death. We rolled bones in our mouths
to shut out thoughts of the small murder in the corridor.