Monday, 18 July 2011

In A Walthamstow Old Peoples Home

They show up out of the blue
Fuzzy edged figures shaped like memories
bright brown circles rimmed with the pale blue yesteryears
of curdled dreams, clouded in 1950’s sepia dementia, so 
you asked the same question, “Wat your name again?”
 
In amongst the others you sit
a young old  man, Nevis citizen, England bound
a tailor’s profession proudly tucked under your arm
like a broadsheet - important, like folded wings –
a new life under the protection of a Motherland beckoning
fledgling, sure of the uncertainty
of migrating, certain of your manhood
 
Some time settling.
Enough to sever ties
enough to know when you’ve been lied to
Then something rustling.
a reminder, a soft alarm
like the syrupy resonance of a familiar calling,
a hunger, a wondering - “Back ‘Ome”.
 
Back then
never knew
how you were gonna get back home
just held a spirit
that wanted forward
 
In amongst the others
the other fragile catacombs
whose chairs are positioned to face a TV
who sit  so still so not to disturb the dust
you see them, familiar strangers who smile as they approach you
- your daughter and her child, they say.​
 
You talk and they listen
and you know you forget things but they don’t seem to mind
besides they feel warm and want to know you
they feel like home
 
and every time they make farewells, you tell the girl child,
“Look after your muddah” and that you thank them for coming
cos you’re not long for this world, you’re waiting,
 
“Waitin’ on di Lawd.
Waitin’ on di Lawd to call me.
To call me to com Back ‘Ome”.

Written by Zena Edwards

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