The old man, with his blue-stripe carrier
and his quarter of spice, skitters in the wind
on the heels of last light. He’s searching
for his tower block, block F, with the view
of Claywood Hill, and the windowsill
lined with china birds. He rubs his hands
like flint and steel, buttons his cardigan.
He’s stamping out the night when he walks
back and again where his home ought to be.
It should be here, block F, he’s sure,
the entrance half-lit where a bulb’s blown,
door wedged open with gum in the hinge,
the stairwell linger of tabs and bleach
like wash day on her skin. He’s fetched milk
for her tea, she’ll not sleep till she’s had it.
‘To the Corner Shop and Back’ appears in Angelina D’Roza’s debut collection Envies the Birds. Listen to D’Roza reading this poem at the foot of the Cholera Monument, Sheffield, with three more poems from the book: