| The Bungalow’s Secret Past
Mother shared a cup of tea with a lecherous councillor
and picked up the house keys with her finger tips.
Driving away from home they saw the land empty, waiting
for the town to breed on it. The housing estate grew tough
and spiteful as a nettle bed. Neighbours stared brazenly
from windows and gardens as the alien family’s fine furniture
was paraded into the building. Then the insoluble equation
of trying to fit their home into the mean little bungalow.
Furniture familiar as family was sacrificed. No place for oak
chests and regency dinning room chairs, here. Attempts at
positioning a bookcase and kidney shaped side board ended
in stalemate. They were left to bully the sitting room.
Mother and daughter strained like Alice in the lizard’s
green house. She was demoted to a single bed with double
wardrobes either side that hemmed her in like bouncers.
Her underwear kept in a packing case squeezed under
an early Victorian sofa. Then the lodger muscled in and
watched the bathroom and bedrooms with his x-ray eyes.
Conversation in the kitchen polluted the other rooms. And
beyond the dividing wall, the sound of the neighbours peeing.
For twenty years, a contemptuous sweep of the duster over
surfaces and the vacuum cleaner skimming the ‘bits that showed’
meant that a rising tide of filth crept across the magnolia walls;
cobwebs blackened corners like dirty secrets; stains gradually
flooded the Wilton carpet; and every curtain inhaled the
lodger’s cigarette smoke and turned ginger.
Sometimes, mother and daughter would walk the length
of an invisible leash, eyes straining beyond the industrial
bulk with its green and red alien lights and permanent
stain of black smoke, looking for their lost country side.
Today, a retired man lovingly mows the lawn in front of the
innocent-looking bungalow with its murder scene’s secret past.
Often the daughter is sent back and strives to clean up the mess.
If you've any comments on these poems, Fiona Sinclair would be pleased to hear them.