Third Prize - 2021 Tower Poetry Competition, 'The Key'


Victoria Street

Rows upon rows

of merry little wreaths,

flaunt the many uniform doors

that distinguish the Street. A foggy air

looms over the mannered town. No birds fly

over the Street. They caw - not too often - but often enough.


Everything is perfect on Victoria Street.


How many times a day, I wonder,

do these residents lock their doors? Watch

the key turn, feel it heavy in their hands; click...click...

Keys. A beautiful thing to those who live on the Street.

Midnight emerges. It suits the residents rather splendidly.


I’ve heard the rumours on Victoria Street.


It’s a rusty relationship the Owens’ door hides,

an abusive one behind the Barrons,

a teenage pregnancy concealed by the Khans,

and a teenage father by the Bathgates.


It’s an alcoholic behind the Croys,

and an addict in the Cruickshanks,

an elopement for the Malik’s,

and a secret lover for the Fletts’.

Every night, they thank the heavens


we have no locksmiths near Victoria Street.


Winds whistle down the Street.

The chuttering of a car’s engine

can’t hide the constant clicking

and checking of door locks. 

What would make one click

...tick...turn their key?

The keys in my hand feel

violent; the limp body

will be a whisper.


People talk on Victoria Street.


It hits the water

just as a churning trickle

of blood hits the concrete. They

have their secrets... now I have mine.


Another key to keep on Victoria Street.