Did I grow up in a circus?
Clearly a clown, coin-fed;
acrobats, sequins, a roller rink…
Clearly knife-throwers –
gangs aiming for my father’s head.
He wore a disguise, an identikit.
Bulldozers grazing Odeon chairs,
ephemera of the flicks.
Recces of upstairs rooms –
guanoed sills, a Spider-Man figure,
Mad Max memorabilia,
a hint of perfumes, hairdos…
Unhomely. At the grand opening
I lost myself, far side of the rink
under a glitter ball,
before skaters performed,
while mum mopped the entrance hall.
I’d go off on wheels –
a ghoul drawn to where, last night,
ribs broke on a barrier.
They told me tales –
a body walled up, unearthed in the work.
It wasn’t in the news.
Or of a ghost or two.
Was it a haunted house?
The balcony’s tasseled curtain:
the site of a tragic fall.
The silver of those strips, they’d twitch
on a breezeless upper floor –
the dark behind it. Then distracted:
after stories of cold spots,
chairs stacking up, unseen hands –
father busy with partners –
I moved to ankles, thighs, skirts
by a changing room door.
Was I the ghost? Was I always alone?
Patrick Wright has a forthcoming poetry collection, Shadows on the Ceiling, published by Eyewear (2019). He also has a pamphlet, Nullaby, by the same publisher (2017).