Alistair Wilkinson Author
Alistair WilkinsonAuthor


That day, August, when everything was new 

Redundant chimney stacks black against the blue. 

Red tiled roofs, white windows, green lawns, brown gates 

Old brick and new grass. A new life sits, waits. 

The removal van filled the street. We parked 

On the path. Curtains twitched but none remarked 

But her. She squeezed past to give her hellos 

And introduce herself. Her name was Rose.  

Tiny, frail, an old sheep, hair woollen wisps 

Kind lady with tin of pop, bag of crisps, 

Maybe a hope of the dad’s little kids. 

Or a sitter, minding ‘neath heavy lids. 

She smiled at us all, seemed pleased to meet us. 

She was dressed in flowers, had a warm fuzz. 

Her eyes were right between the dad’s and his 

Four year old boy. Strong, clear despite the mist,  

But so small, so white, already a ghost. 

The mother of the street, a perfect host? 

Maybe once. Before this isolation. 

Maybe twice in a new situation. 

We never saw Rose again to speak to, 

Never formed that bond - always wanted to.  

A tiny thing. Body's heat but no fire, 

Caught in her garden like wool on barbed wire. 

For years an army of overalled men 

Tended and mended, kept her cosy den. 

Gardening, glossing, Rose’s still growing, 

A lush green lawn, white window frames glowing. 

Trucks and vans, mowers, shears and brushes, 

So much colour and, oh, those rose bushes.   

When the new family came and her house 

Was suddenly so loud, so brash, so full. 

Window frames gone, the house was Yorick's skull.  


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