At night, the sounds of things settling:
pipes contract, fizz a little
bowed floorboards snap back, relax.
You’re used to your daughter’s breath
beside your own
so you don’t flinch at the sigh
which thrums in the air by your ear
at just that moment
when wakefulness tips into sleep
The garden heaves with broken china,
patterned fragments edging up
between the strawberry plants.
A wisp of fabric snags
against a beam, fades.
You maybe hear the click of the latch, a sound
as slight and familiar as the tick of your watch.
You maybe catch, as you turn, the flick
of a pale hem darting round the doorframe.
The time you had flu, you know you felt
a small, cool hand stroke your head.
In Home, I look at a slightly different intersection between the present and the past, an architectural intersection, by thinking about a house’s different historical inhabitants and the way in which a previous resident’s past life in a house can surface, through discovered objects or tinier traces, during a new occupant’s life. I aimed to show this as a benign force, not to veer too much into ghostly or supernatural territory, but just to show that the past can almost emerge, can be unexpectedly pervasive.
Rosemary Appleton writes in the wilds of East Anglia, fuelled by coffee. Her work has appeared in Mslexia, The Fenland Reed, Spontaneity and other places. She tweets @BluestockingBks