Jackie Kelly

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Homeward Bound

We weren’t alone in my childhood home,
My parents, my sisters and me –
The ghost, Mr Man, lived there too between times;
Sometimes lingering on stairs or in dark corners.
Sometimes longing or lonely.

And now far from childish thoughts and years, I am put in mind of that first home:
The smells of the dusty cupboard where silverfish hid;
Prehistoric and nocturnal.
The loud echoes of the laughing house, home to the tribe;
Colours of the garish 70’s clash, Top of the Pops, Tom and Jerry.

Ah, memory – you midway land of half-forgotten times
Opaque palimpsest intersecting the now,
How you belie the past, illuminating the mind’s still
Images with rosy light.
Yet, I recall last spring, with both parents dead
And the house sold, cold and empty
And the siblings with homes of their own
I was alone in silence,
Tidying the garden for a new tribe
And as I looked up I saw
Mr Man standing at the window -
Sorrowful, but waving goodbye.
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