An east coast strip of land from Caithness to Skegness
from backyard, pithead, scrubbed steps, blacklead,
from rent books, black looks
Sunday dinners cooked by plain cooks
union subs, grimy pubs, whist drives, jumble sales
Newcastle Brown Ale. The ship that never sailed
up Byker Bank.
I come from social climbing semi-detached
from season tickets for the football match
white collar jobs, Thelma and Bob
the anxious torn-betweenness of
loving what you know and wanting better.
The fed-up, split-up, solicitors’ letters
the kiss and make up and what you settle
for in the end.
From name tapes and Start-Rite, the tip-toeing great height
of the Children’s Library issue desk. The librarian
who was my friend. A strange little girl in a strange land.
An Only Child with time on her hands.
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