Volume 33, Number 1

Public Concern

Poverty was always expected
in our house, like train delays
or running out of money
before the end of the month.
We would hear it running up
the communal stairwell,
knocking on letterboxes
as if it was a figure of authority.
None of us said anything
when we watched it from the gap
behind our bedroom door,
silently taking an offering
of moth-worn socks, half eaten
packets of Walker’s crisps
and a ham and cheese sandwich.
The goose-grey tower block
never fell when it finally left
decades later, kicking us in the back
when we weren’t looking;
like the donkey in a game
of Buckaroo, eager to shed years
of unwanted weight.

—Christian Ward