A Vacant Prelude to Vagrancy

It is midnight, or early morning –

I am not sure which,

But I know I feel different

To how I did a few hours before.

I am walking around my home,

Or wandering really, or any other

Form of movement that suggests apathy.


I trail my fingertips down a dusty banister

And wonder when it was that I allowed the dust to settle,

And why I ever let it build up the way it has, so that

The white paint underneath doesn't gleam anymore.

In the dark shadows like wells, that stretch infinitely in every room,

I feel lost, although this is my home, my security, my own four walls.

Each piece of furniture seems to throw out fading shapes

That I could have sworn looked different before.


My fingers try to grasp the curtains, the radiators and door handles,

But everything feels cold and unfamiliar and I am uncertain as to why.

All around me there is emptiness, and a silence that I can feel more than I can hear.

And then one by one, pieces of furniture begin to vanish.

The sofa I've wasted lazy summer days on, the cabinet filled with

Souvenirs of holidays in dreams gone by. The sideboard, once filled

With school certificates, and now divorce files. Gone.


I begin to run. I race around the rooms of my home, trying to grasp

At what is disappearing. And with each thing that vanishes,

I feel a part of myself break off and crumble and vanish too,

Until I feel as though I may as well have lost my lungs, my

Liver, my heart and my brain.

My panic is hopeless, groundless. I knew this was going to happen.

I said I was fine with it.


And I stare out of the window, surprisingly dry-eyed,

For a girl who feels so little inside, and who has just lost

The only home she ever knew.

The houses across the street are lit from within, and I can see

Their furniture and decoration, and the memories attached to them that are not mine.

And nor will they ever be.

Stories swirl like black ink in thin air, unfamiliar whispers in unfamiliar voices,

And the stories mean nothing to me.


For they belong to strangers, the inhabitants of these homes, and I don't understand them

Any more than they understand me.

Because they have homes, security, their own four walls.

And I have a house.


It is true I have other walls, not too far from here, which I am scared to decorate.