each step, a creak and groan;
ash on one, crumbs
and cockroach on another,
this place has been left to ruin.
a once-lively bakery
stacked with dusty chairs, a worn sign
advertises vegetable roti.
the stairs reek ancient lacquer,
bare feet, travellers’ shoes.
scuff-marked edges from too-heavy bags
lugged up and down,
obsequious gestures of welcome;
but underneath an animal lurks
ready to attack,
or call the tourist police.
an ashtray crammed with cigarettes
waits for us at breakfast,
trapped beneath it a tablecloth
patterned with other people’s lives.
Lisa Reily is a former literacy consultant, dance director and teacher from Australia. Her poetry and stories have been published in several journals, such as Amaryllis, London Grip, The High Window, Panoplyzine, Riggwelter, The Fenland Reed, Wanderlust and River Teeth Journal’s Beautiful Things. You can find out more at https://lisareily.wordpress.com.