Poetry London Clore Prize 2019: Highly Commended

Catherine Higgins-Moore

I’d been waiting months

For a house in the new estate. They weren’t allowed murals.
They’d built-in kitchens. Tarmaced driveways. An address

that didn’t mark your card. I got all A’s in school. I preferred
blue eyes. No tattoos. I could’ve taken or left him.

The woman in the Housing Executive said we were getting
a detached. Three-bed. Said we were next. I picked

all my furniture. A set of saucepans in the Next sale. New
bread bin. Fold-out slide for when we got a garden.

I’d the sofa sent here. 70% off. Didn’t want to lose it.
Everybody saw the filth pulling up before I did.

He was here watching T.V. He was with me the whole time.
I never could lie well.

I asked for the woman in the green jumper.
She’s left.

Could you believe them? I saw her weeks later in the health centre
must’ve been her husband pushing her chair. Shoulders stooped like

she was eating soup.
I send him parcels. He’s getting a degree.

The bonfire’s over fourteen foot. They’re going buck wild. I gave them
the sofa, the pans, the bread bin. The boys push the furniture agin the wall

and climb up and down the slide ‘til the wee one has carpet burns.
I’m the king of the castle, and you’re the Fenian bastard.

The heat clicks off at 8. I go to the door.
Watch the black smoke smother the street.