I have never had a key to my mother’s house.
The door was always ‘on the latch’.
On late, illicit nights I’d creep in only to get as far as my bedroom door,
‘Is that you?’, coming from their room.
Who else it might have been always remained a mystery to me, a solitary child.
I’ve never had a key to my mother’s house.
Sometimes, in dreams, the house and the self overlap each other,
Like tracing paper, trying to match it up, overlay the paper on the image,
A perfect fit, house and self.
But I have a key to MY house.
Always the last thing checked: have I locked up?
The small pleasure on returning home, key in the lock,
That particular feeling when the lock ‘gives’ and I’m indoors.
I would know, with my animal senses, if someone else had been in the house,
A sixth sense finely tuned, now that I live alone.
I’m creating a key to my other house, my self, the hardest handicraft of all.
Each week in those 50 minute hours the key is shaped.
This is hard work, like carving wood in the dark with a razorblade.
At first I tried to take an impression in soap of someone else’s key
If it fits her door then why not mine?
But no, it wouldn’t fit, that was her house and keys aren’t interchangeable.
I’ll leave the door on the latch until my handicrafts done.
So I don’t dare venture far too fast, squatters might move in.
They’ve been here before, stayed a long time, took up residence and made the place their own.
I waited on them, saw to their needs, not realizing I could kick them out.
They were fear and anger, shame and sadness,
They exhausted me with their demands
Fear and shame still skulk in shadows, but will leave, afraid of the light.
Rage lurks in corners, afraid to show its face just yet, in case the roof falls in.
Sadness seems to have taken root, but even stubborn roots can be shifted.
I need the energy of anger to assist me in the task.
Which leaves the big airy sunlit room with a name on the door: HOPE.
I can wait. There’ll be nothing vacant about my possession.
I need to come home.