From New House Farm to Drakes Close



My mother wedged my bed in the car

the single frame and mattress shoved

in the hatchback of the Austen Maestro.


I had a new key to an old door

of a council flat with wooden stairs

covered in trodden circulars addressed to someone else.


There were no curtain tracks so

I nailed my curtains up and tied them back,

proud; my own windows, my own view of the carpark.


A family kitchen, no cooker, no fridge,

only a bucket of cold water with a carton of milk

in the summer heat; bobbing.


A view across the town

How many mill chimneys?

One dozen, two dozen, three dozen.


Footsteps echoed down the walkway, shouts,

not the calls of pheasants, owls or foxes;

not anymore.


A swaying man thrust his key at my door

‘I’m sorry you don’t live here,’ I said, with a smile.


I had a lot to learn.


by Catherine Simpson