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A child is surrounded by lots of new admirers on a yellow bench.

The only Valentine card I’ve ever had
is from my gran.
She sends me one every year
and signs it ‘Love ?’
in her wobbly writing
with 3 kisses and a love heart
that looks more like a squashed baked bean .

I’m sick of not getting a real Valentine card.
The girls at school
say I’m sweet and call me a cutey
and wish I was their little brother.
But I don’t want to be cute
like a stupid baby brother.
I want a big, red card
with kisses in it.

My smelly older sister says I’m too nice
and sweet and kind
and that her friends prefer bad boys
who chase them round the playground
calling them names ‘til they catch them
and squash them on the bench.
‘Cos when you’re ten that’s a sign
of true love.

So for the whole week before Valentine’s day
I chased the girls
shouting rude names in their lug holes
and wrestled with them at lunch.
I told them to get lost
when they asked me to take a message
about a date to my mates.
No way!

The day came but there was no card on my desk
or in my tray.
But when I took my school books out
something fell on the floor -
a big red envelope.
Everyone saw and rushed over.
“Open it then,” they shouted.
So I did!

The whole class hollered, “Ooo it’s got 3 kisses,
and wobbly writing
so you don’t guess who it’s from.”
“She must really fancy you,” the girls said -
“she’s put a big love heart at the bottom.”
“Shame she can’t draw,” my mate pointed,
“It looks more like a squashed baked bean.”
Everyone laughed.

I stood the card up behind my pencil case
and grinned to myself.
At break time a big group of girls
suddenly rushed towards me
giggling and calling me names.
They dragged me through the football match
and pushed and crushed me on the bench.
It hurt like hell.

“What’s the secret password?” they squealed,
“and then we’ll let you go.”
“Squashtastic!” I yelled
and ran for my life.

©2010 Mark Bird

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