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Poetry on the Picketline Home Is a Bus Ride by Bridget Hart

The Tesco Express where her parents got engaged is always so bare the isles could still be used for skittles, and her baby picture still pinned above the bar.

A pensioner kicks one of the self service machines
at the post office my grandfather painted as a young man.

Clarence Hardware is still beating its fist on the old high street,
the elder of Voy’s Corner, has outlived four gold brokers.

Does Grandad know his favourite curry house is a bar named 'Nichole' now?

The house where Claire lived before she died is there,
the door has a developed a muddy illness about it but

the maple planted in her name is fever red in the city park
I poured more than beer onto the roots on brown rotten nights.

Shirley Home Fire Centre has been a family run business for thirty years,
the son once tripped me so hard in the playground my tights shattered at the knees.

Mum, will you ever take me for ice cream and possibility at the Mayflower theatre again?

This corner is where he gave me his phone number on a bus
ticket, and I never said thank you, or sorry later on.

A picket line of the homeless huddle under the lip of the station
asking for change/to escape.

I take a train out, of the stratum
of a life I slip into like yesterday and shed as easily as skin.

Bridget Hart writes love letters to women and survivors for solidarity. Her first collection Better Watch Your Mouth was  published by Burning Eye Books in 2017.

Poetry on the Picket Line is a squad of like-minded poets putting themselves about to read their work on picket lines, in the spirit of solidarity. Invitations to rallies etc. welcome, contact facebook.com/pg/PicketLinePoets.

The new Poetry on the Picketline anthology is available at culturematters.org.uk

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