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‘To Get Away From Mother’s Flat’


her front door two flights

of stairs the 50-year-old

smell of dust and cooking communal

notice board of orders and restrictions the flat

where the voluble neighbour lived

and died [nudge] the heavy inner

doors [push] the heavy

outer door [leap]

that single



down the path

across the garden [pass] the bench under

the horse chestnut the driveway of the block

which used to house US Embassy

personnel and their playful

children [hit] the pavement

[turn] the corner


past where that disliked schoolfriend

used to live the traffic lights [catch]

the bus to the  train station

[make for] platform


or 2

or 5

or  sometimes 9


on the train

[holding your breath until]

it leaves.

“This poem is highly autobiographical and I don’t think its subject would be very pleased at the glee it contains regarding the leaving of her flat, hence the anonymity. It was written on Suzannah Evans’ Rewriting the Map course, during the first assignment, when we were asked to map a very familiar place or route and make a poem from that. I had great fun with this, letting it sprawl all over the page, and playing with the square brackets, so the form and the content chimed. I have a slight obsession with maps – this course was perfect for feeding this, and for inspiring me, from Week 1, to try something different with my poetry.”

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