CarolineSmith

Removal

Landlords are shifting out old tenants.
It’s the season of mattresses.
Checked, stained,
they are dumped in the road overnight.
Cramped in half, their
split seams erupt yellow foam
like crops of toadstools
under this grey wash
of a Saturday autumn sky.

A piece of dark cloth is tacked to the window
of this maisonette my pregnant friend
is viewing to buy. Her first home.
The tenant has been issued a Section 21,
so we could only get access now
the owner’s swept in to open the door.
The tenant follows us from room to room
leaning her cheek against the door frame,
watching. It’s the same stare
I saw on my father’s ivory face.

I was digging up plants from his garden,
he had agreed I could,
after he’d finally accepted
he had to move.
I thought he was asleep,
but he’d followed me out
shuffling slowly after me.
He stood balancing with his two sticks,
just watching at a distance
from the middle of the path.

Caroline Smith was born in Ilford, Essex but now lives in Wembley where she also works as an immigration and asylum caseworker for a London MP. Her most recent poetry book, The
Immigration Handbook, published by Seren Books, was shortlisted for the 2016 Ted Hughes award. Caroline has been a contributor to a number of journals and anthologies. She has twice been a prize winner in the Troubadour poetry competition.

hear Caroline read her poem on
facebook at Video_1.MOV