A girl with a ponytail, school sweatshirt and a future
sits beside Mum in a car in a Welsh layby.
They frown together over equations, world poverty
and the mysteries of the compound-complex sentence
while there’s light and a broadband signal.
Their Gwytherin rural idyll has won ‘best kept’ four times
although not for its wifi access, notes a villager
with an edge to her tongue at a residents’ meeting.
A Filipino boy, thin legs crossed and brow furrowed,
sits outside McDonalds (which has its own best kept secrets)
borrowing its glare to study verb endings, homophones,
and calculate pluses and minuses with a blunt pencil.
His desk a creaky stool, his classroom a junk food window,
his teachers himself, the textbook, his parents’ dreams.
He sees not as a couple passes, Western-clothed, stares unsubtle.
He’s battling long division and his stomach’s growl.
On the way back to Gwytherin, the ponytail girl and Mum
drive-in for salty fries and something frothy, sweet and light.
© Fran Hill
Poor broadband forces girl to do homework in lay-by
Filipino boy receives scholarship after photograph of him studying on the street goes viral
Fran Hill is a writer and English teacher based in Warwickshire, UK.