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