Poem Of The Week | Homestead by Grace O’Doherty


By Grace O’Doherty

Back where I began,
the room with the bunk beds.
What’s past happens still: a jar of shells,
an uncle’s old love letters grandmother kept,
that I showed to friends after school. Faded
canvas stickers with names of foreign beers,

From in here the redness of the berries,
early holly berries, brighter.
From in here, the dark downstairs
when everyone had gone to bed,
lining the halls, sitting in the kitchen,
gathering around the fire nuggets
in the grate.

Leather, smoke, scent of someone
come home from the pub,
a kiss goodnight, a gift
for the little girl when she’s sick:
a calendar, a CD, a magazine.
There are family members
in each and every one of my dreams.

The footsteps on the corridor outside
land the beige diamonds every time,
those brown carpet thumps sound like
my own. How many diamonds from
the top of the stairs to the end, again?
There’s only lino there now
so I can’t count.

Blue morning, rooms hard to heat,
photos over an enamel sink
of adults with young faces, smiling.
A white wardrobe containing
at least three wedding dresses
alongside towels, board games,
other things waiting out the years,
a house holding hands with
its children, their children’s children:
we have been passed down,
we are pulled back, we are kept. 

Submissions are open for all HeadStuff poetry categories, including Poem of The Week (Every Friday), Unbound (longer sequence of poems from a single poet), and New Voices (submissions from poets under the age of 30.) We accept both written, audio and video recorded poems as long as the quality of the audio and video is of a high standard.

Please see our Submissions page for more information.

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash