Crumbs in the cupboards; a single burn-encrusted
hob, ochre and sienna and hot-white
like the midday sun that hid its face
on the day that we entered this place;
beaded chains sticky with a substance that
may or may not be bodily,
a goo that is to the
touch twins with the appearance of the brown
marks blended into the surface of the
linoleum floor; a stringy cocoon
dangling from blinds the shade of cartoon snot,
as if housing a caterpillar who –
like us –
is anticipating the “Transformation
of a lifetime.”(Or perhaps
behind the threads a bloodless fly is trapped.)
A grey smudge on the mattress, the faded
mark of a woman from decades before;
a diagonal claw-mark on the headboard –
a broken life-line – which makes me wonder
what sort of accident might have happened
here, in my
flimsy single bed.
I am witness only to the fossils.
Haphazard brushes of off-white succeed
a paler wall paint, its secrets too
dark to be obscured by a congruent
colour; magenta stains the carpet with
countries that resemble India and Australia
This room was once somebody’s world.
Or at least a fraction of it.
A toilet seat that shifts and twists within
its loose-screwed grooves; a shower base crowned with
the remnants of an earthquake
perhaps orchestrated by the victim
of a personal or familial
dark holes brimming with the promise of
spiders and mice
into the cavernous hollow within;
drunken lines like constellations,
someone’s attempt at
divining the future,
cling to the wall in flickering
fluorescent light that warns of
shreds of tissue adhere to the ceiling,
dead skin peeling
from a back or stomach.
A.N. For my first creative writing portfolio, on the given theme of legacies, I decided to explore the signs of wear and tear that I found in my flat when I first started at university. I wrote a poem for each room: the kitchen, the bedroom and the bathroom, drawing inspiration from James Merrill’s ‘The Broken Home’ and his divergence from the traditional sonnet forms to create his sequence.