Standing in the hall, holding a bag of brown
lemonade, ham and some photographs of us.
The smell is still the same; so are the dinner plates.
Mum, always getting smaller, just like the house.
Somewhere not too far away, it’s summer.
The sound of my sister’s tennis ball, bouncing
endlessly against the wall. There is sight and colour
in the street, with fathers proudly washing cars
that they can just about afford.
The smell of bacon and sound of a vacuum
confirm it is Saturday today. ‘Where you going, Dad?’
I have to do a message, son.’ ‘Can I come?’ ‘No,
you stay here and play’. He pats my head, turns and
Mum says, ‘Don’t you stay in all day.’
She’s holding my rubber sheets. I climb up
unto the sofa and think I might lie here, for a while.
The wrestling is on soon; I don’t care much for
Grandstand but I do like Doctor Who.
There is a smell, of cigarettes, cigars and drink.
It travels up the stairs like an angel.
Its wings made of music, laughter and dance,
Lying in the camp bad, wondering how great
it seems to be grown up.
Donna is handing me Animal Farm: she tells me
books are like magic, a place where you can hide.
Lying in the box room, Lynne has got married
and moved away. Listening to the sound of
the footsteps she told me about:
The ones that simply stop, outside in the street.
‘It’s all horrible now,’ Mum says, sitting on the sofa.
Amelie is running up and down the hall with
a pram that is older than me. ‘Martha has no mind
left.’ ‘Etta is riddled with cancer.’ ‘Your friend Ian
has gone insane.’
I’m getting ready to leave Westway. But it will never
go away. These forever moving pictures are burnt
unto a screen; a soul lost in the brickwork of childhood
memory. My footsteps now? A ghost in the street.
Heard by a child, before they go to sleep.