18 Folgate Street by Sue Johnson

It is four o’clock on a winter’s afternoon.
The door is liquorice black,
decorated with a holly wreath.
You ring the bell and wait for admittance.
You step into a candlelit hallway.

There are no tour guides, no guide books.
Signs say: ‘You either see it or you don’t’.
You make your way in silence. Be careful.
The stairs are steep and the ceilings low.

Dark clad figures move in shadowy corners
here and gone like ghosts.

Down in the kitchen there is warmth
and the smell of baking.
Jam tarts on a plate. A ginger cat
watches the canary in its cage.
You hear hoof-beats,
the sound of carriage wheels.

Upstairs, you hear voices in the dining room,
The sound of a fight and a chair overturned.
The smell of roasting meat lingers
a half-eaten apple lies abandoned.

In the next room you see
the remains of afternoon tea in
yellow porcelain cups. Rose perfume lingers.

There is no gift shop as you leave.
Your memories will be enough.

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