Elizabeth Russell

This House

The smell has gone,
the closed but now opened-up,
why-don’t-you-come-here-more-often smell.
And all the words
we never use anymore
must be hiding in these cupboards
with the nearly-decks of cards
and the baby oil.
Rubber balls under the deck
without the rubbery smell,
and absent birds gone
from absent trees.
These wet bricks aren’t chancy,
like he called them once.
They’re just wet.
Clean isolation now
This quiet takes our breath from us,
takes the ends of sentences.
We can’t see our sepia selves
Can’t smell the Banana Boat
and smoke.
Silence instead of the ripping of sweetcorn from husks.

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