Poetry | Rooms I have lived in by Ellie Taylor

A room only a little bigger than my arm-span

The door: number 3 on a metal circle at the top left-hand corner.

a heavy lock, it slammed if you let it

5 neighbors to share the thin walls with

Red carpet, red curtains, a red pin-board on the wall.

not an easy color to work with –

four sets of fairy-lights would have to do.

A desk of light-brown wood, 4 drawers, and an office chair which I spun agitatedly on,

whilst I wrote essays titled Chivalry and Romance; The Glorious Revolution; Intro to Christianity.

A narrow bed with a sagging mattress, and a shower room which flooded when I shaved my legs,

the floor just wide enough for one guest; sometimes we squeezed three in and woke up in a loving bundle of girls in pajamas.

Summer came, I left the room empty for a new occupant

Come October

A room at the back of a terraced house which looked over the fields

From the ceiling, two walls sloped away diagonally – crucially, white

Easier to style. I blutacked photos on the walls. Took them down for ‘house inspection’ days

White sheets and pale pink pillows –

the bed creaked. It was comfier than the last though

I got ill in the cool mornings of the autumn. The room watched me weep – curl up – not leave the bed.

The worst nights of my life

The ones I thought I could not survive.

I left for three weeks and when I came back,

the light came in pink and gold in the afternoon. It sat on the walls and said

Life can be beautiful now

After walks along the river in May, I emptied the room and said goodbye

Six months at home

Then an attic room, where the roof sloped down and cut out half of the space;

just because you can fit a double bed – doesn’t mean you should

The first day, I dragged the desk beside the bed

so that I could sit at it more comfortably. 

The walls already badly marked, I blutacked to my heart’s content

Bought flowers when I could afford them, because they made me happy

but also because the carpet was brown and ugly

A huge Velux window:

a square of blue or grey, lilac or gold, red or pink

Depending on the weather 

I opened it in the mornings and let the air in

in this, my final year to breathe in that particular air

I frequented the library. The desk still gave me a cricked neck

I emptied the room. I sat on the ugly carpet

looked up at the grey today square in the sloped roof

Exhaled. Thought –

Now to unknown rooms

Maybe with blu-tac marks,

maybe with lumpy mattresses, and paper-thin walls, and wonky walls

Certainly, there will be tears

shouting

happiness, and laughter.

Fragments of life, scattered around

In the rooms I have lived in

Graphic courtesy of Izzie Armitage

One Comment Add yours

  1. aimeedyson says:

    This is a beautiful poem!

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