The Terraced House
It was up a hill but a step down
from the place we had called home.
It was all my mother could afford
after they split the money.
A terrace, not a semi, with
two bedrooms instead of four,
a pokey living room and a kitchen
like an ice cave.
The back yard was shared, with other
people and a variety of cats,
often mounted on top of ours.
I tripped over the cats one morning
on the way to the outside toilet
that froze in the winter.
My mother did her best, borrowed
more than she could afford.
She was good at owing.
It only needed her to have
three jobs at the same time.
She just wanted to make
a bad place
better for us;
extra bedrooms, a bathroom,
inside toilet, all of that.
She begged favours from friends
and family and the feckless men
she attracted all of her life.
The sherry made it easier for her,
I would imagine.
It is hard to look back at all that,
at all the things she did,
that I never thanked her.
What little innocence I ever had,
I lost it in that house.