Issue 2

Such a strange ritual to sell a house:
to welcome vampiric outsiders
across the step with fresh coffee, rictus
grins and cinnamon swirls, as if to say,

here is the very heart of us for you
to take or leave; this is where we begin
and end. Yes, here are the rooms that amassed
our secrets for an unbroken decade:

a medley of syrup and strychnine, fear
and hysterics that still rings in our bones.
Here: the hallway where I was breathalysed
mistakenly by a jobsworth policeman

while my toddler peeped curiously between
her mother’s knees. Here: the wonky floorboard
where I clonked my thumb with a claw hammer
and fainted, the gable wall that blossomed

with malignant damp each time it was painted.
Here: the bench where we wept for so many
births and deaths. Here: the bed in which we slept;
me on the right, her always on the left.

Like layers of rock built up over time,
this house is marked with every tear and breath
but when we leave it will not grow bereft.
Reborn as there … loved by somebody else.

Ross Thompson is a writer, avid video gamer and Lego collector from Bangor, Northern Ireland. His debut poetry collection Threading The Light is published by Dedalus Press. His work has appeared on television, radio, short films and in a wide range of publications. Most recently, he wrote and curated A Silent War, a collaborative audio response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is currently working on several projects including editing a second full-length book of poems.

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