The Terraced House

a terraced house

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,

knowing

that I never thanked her.

What little innocence I ever had,

I lost it in that house.

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