Nativity Play
Wattle Park Primary School, 1969

I’m a koala in the play.
I get to hide inside
the papier mâché koala head
Mum made.
My ears are cotton wool.
In here, it’s hot
and smells of glue
and newsprint.
Eyes peek through two holes,
the rest of me disguised.

The whole class jostles
and crowds the stage.
I hug the wings,
my koala head bobbing
to the music
while my lips stay sealed.

My playground tormentors
sing like angels.



Hilaire is co-author with Joolz Sparkes of London Undercurrents, published by Holland Park Press. She was poet-in-residence at Thrive Battersea in 2017 and Highly Commended in the 2019 Live Canon International Poetry Prize. She writes and gardens in Battersea.