womb

to the other family,
the one who gave me all the
loveliest
warmest memories.
how do I thank them now
for their homeliness?
I never
wanted to go home –
whether creating
hard-hitting remakes of
the sim city newscaster on
your video camera, or
jumping off the climbing frame,
or getting chocolate
everywhere in the kitchen, or
getting all of you
round that glowing kitchen table by
the range cooker to
laugh at my jokes or
us getting all to
collaborate in a group impersonation
of a father ted scene

I never
wanted to go home
not from that womb of a place

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holly

just a road like any other
suburban to the very core
full of grey paving slabs
and comfortable family cars
each house square and dignified
with just the right amount
of curtain twitching.

the shrubs are lined up
outside the short brick fences
each one alike in its nature
each front garden path,
trodden in with memories of
grown up children and
school mornings past

the holly bushes of the house
that once was ours
seem to glitter in
the dim night light,
but not looking nearly so
inviting as they did
all those years ago.

I steal a sprig from the front
a perfect thing, its points
all frosted with white
some fairytale thing,
it seems it my hand
a little piece of green is all
but dripping rich with
vibrant memories of the plainest
days

plain,
but so wonderfully pure
so wonderfully formative
so like a dream,
that I scarcely can believe
they belong to me at all.

joy hits me
heavy in the chest
with a fist
as I look through
painted green window frames,
still existing as they ever did.
and my sadness
comes off the roof
as mirror-like summer heat
or through the old brick chimney
smoking logs that we burnt
for three whole Christmases.

castles

as she is lowered
into
the swaying
undulating heat
of the underground cavern
she breathes deeply
the smell of hot metal
and foot soldiers,
and asks
is this
my home?

she asks
is this my home?
where is my home?
does it matter
at all?
is home some
abstract feeling
of childhood safety nets
that dissipate into
nothing, with age?
we lose our homes
and gain
weathered lines,
crow’s feet at the eyes?

she stands by
the quiet beggar
with his whispered
pleas for help
and change
perhaps
he knows where home
could be.
perhaps one so
much more lost than her,
could share the secret.

she cries
out in the night
for that great thing.
home is nowhere
for anyone
she realises,
a thought of comfort.
home is inside
their hearts,
not their things or their castles.
she knows this,
she knows this.

and so her mother says
best
get to work
on your little heart,
my girl.