Hayley’s House

This piece was written in response to a Free Write Friday prompt in which American author and poet Kellie Elmore asked us to write about a moment spent at someone else’s house and then to end with a line hat is seemingly unrelated to the rest.

The place I chose was that of a primary school friend called Hayley…


I could see the grain
baiting me from beneath
sun worn varnish
your curtains were drawn
even in the afternoons
no smell of home cooking
just the yellow of cigarettes
to greet our return from school
and I always knew that
I wouldn’t be staying for tea
just play, and play we did
unattended, as it was for you
quietly too, trying not to
wake your mama, sleeping off
the morning or the night before
your bedroom an Aladdin’s cave
posters of our favourite band
laughs on a pop culture bed spread
and your cassette player which
I imagined was as much a friend as I
what I didn’t see though
hidden amongst the dust
tucked behind the out of date
cream and crusted cheese
in your empty fridge
my mama never came home


6 responses to “Hayley’s House

    • Thanks Caroline and yes it does make sense, don’t worry! I liked it when I posted it but now I have read it again I’m not sure that some of the lines sit together as well as I had first thought… But hey ho, I don’t pedal perfection, just the best I have in any given moment.

  1. This touched a spot within me , as I was raised by grands, “my mama never came home” pulled at the child in me. That sense of loss when mama isn’t there and the attachment to the cassette player WOW like you looked into my past and pulled out my sense of abandonment. Great write! hugzz ((()))

  2. I love this! It reminded me of my friend, Bobbi’s house. Her room was covered in posters of NKOTB (which I loved too shhhh) lol! And her moms cigs always smoldering in the ashtray. Awesome, visual piece! Thank you!

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