Islington, 1972

There was still a coal fire
In the cold dank flat where Grandma lived
With lots of grown up children
Jobless, tired and drunk
And the children of those children
Asleep under coats, washed in cold water
Fed potatoes for breakfast, with salt.

I remember how the firelighters smelt
Their texture, gluey and warm.

My hair was wrenched
My face was scrubbed
The spud produced
The Kit Kat money (stolen by bullies)
The cousin (beloved)
Frantic journey through enemy territory
No Kit Kat
Then school.

By susan phillips