One Day I’ll Take You There by Kathy Gee

Behind the Market Hall the roads are narrower. Department stores decline downhill through tattoo artists, betting shops and spray-tag hoardings. Office blocks stand empty—‘let with onsite parking’—overlook no entry signs. Old iron railings fence the traffic island where a tramp lay dead in his small snug camp beneath the shrubs where nobody went. Ring road arrows lead to signal lights. We’ll leave at the sunken interchange where, every winter, fairy-lights shroud stunted trees like Christmas puddings.

We’ll pass the spacious school you don’t attend, where central reservations glow with yellow roses. Cherry blossom ices pavements. Acer fingers point to Waitrose. Pass the chemist and chiropodist, past red brick villas, Cedars Residential Home where birds sing overtures in laurel hedges. Pass through long fat swathes of aspiration—Osborne Road, Old Manor Close and Nelson Crescent. Safety barriers are camouflaged with green-stemmed dogwood. Pillared ranches crouch well back, protected by their conifers and automatic gates.

The final roundabout leads to a village church. The newly-kerbless verge waves white and tall with Queen Anne’s Lace. We’ll curve our steps towards the distant woods and catch the sun across a field of poppies. This, my child, is what we know as ‘country.’

Kathy Gee works in museums and heritage in the UK. Since 2011 some fifty of her poems have been accepted by print and online magazines. Her first collection will be published in 2016.