A porch is built. The mantelpiece
is faked to look like marble, banister rails
replaced by frosted glass.

Shoes are removed at the front door. The cutlery
sets her teeth on edge. He lifts it out
piece by piece.

He makes her tea like dishwater;
can’t get the boiler to light. Potatoes
take hours to cook.

Something strange hangs
among the ties in his wardrobe.
I steal a Woodbine from his pocket.

No one uses the lounge;
the sofa and chairs
are covered in plastic sheets.

It’s dark in the mornings.
I dress by a two-bar electric fire.
Everything I need is washed,

ironed, folded, shirt – whiter
than anyone’s – skirt, cardigan; sleeves
picked clean of bobbles.