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Rule three thousand and ten
I’ve forgotten a lot of the rules,
like how you get to the square on the hypotenuse
(and what you do once you’re there)
and how to do long division
and getting percentages on a calculator.
Netball draws a blank.
Don’t even know the right way to lace shoes,
Or the bowl to use when whipping chocolate mousse.
Why one is not supposed to clink glasses
or say pleased to meet you.
What to say when someone dies
or to do if they do.
And when to say “owing” and when to say “due”
(not that I ever have good reason to). What has gone away?
The whole thing about the past tense in French novels.
The meaning of zigzag yellow road markings.
The rite of contrition after confession
Whether Mrs Ramsay said it was doors or windows should be left open.
But I’ll always remember rule three thousand and ten:
never sleep with married men.

But I’ll never forget rule three thousand and two:
roses are red and mistresses are blue.