I am standing on an upturned bin looking through the little barred window into the room that I was born in & everyone is happy & everyone is asleep & I pray to a god who keeps on disappearing & I ask the silent shattered stars above to make sure that the baby in that room turns out to be nothing
I will be reborn several times in my life. I will be many different people & wear many different faces & get a thousand chances to be better:
I will even take some of them
(when I’m being brave, I will pick my chances like cherries roll them between my fingertips undertake inspection for any imperfections & then urgently devour the possibilities that dwell within the cerise skin & try to be better, better, better at this business of living) (but other times, when I am feeling weak & tired from the fight & am too blind to see the catastrophe in front of me, I will gorge on the ugly ones the dirty, aphid-covered cherries, the bad opportunities that only exist to hurt me, to destroy me: I'll gobble them up, those bad decisions & make myself sick with the consequences. I’ll wear the juices of those dangerous cherry-chances like lipstick, let all the wasted beauty drip down my chin & spit out the pips &—knowing that I’ve missed a chance to be better—just try my best to not to get any worse)
One day when I walk the Seven Sisters Road / alone I will see everyone that I have ever known & everyone that I will ever meet in my various little lives, they’ll all combine & line the street
here, where inertia grows on trees, where a boy got killed over a just-shy gram of coke, where the inhabitants are broke but the system is broker, where I saw my first dead body in the back of a Vauxhall Nova, where Papa carried me to Highbury on his denim-clad shoulders: my story will be laid out / clear / for me here for this, this is home & it will always be but I’ve got a long way to go to get to where I’m meant to be.
HLR (she/her) is the author of collection History of Present Complaint (Close to the Bone) and Portrait of the Poet as a Hot Mess (Ghost City Press). She lives in north London, where she was born and raised. Twitter: @HLRwriter / www.treacleheart.com