It was a conversion, once a part of the city walls,
the docks where spices were unloaded.
Gangmasters wrote messages on walls
lists of cargoes to be stacked into
ships that pulled up to the wharves,
that are unseen from this high window
with its railings, once anchoring hoists,
now converted to faux-balconies.
The dark boards throw up essence
of cinnamon, mace, nutmeg, clove,
despite a coat of varnish wearing thin in places.
I’ve only rented, can’t afford to buy
the price of these apartments is sky-high.
That’s why this room’s so bare
no new paint or plaster’s sheen is glinting in the light.
I hung this mirror by the name I found
scratched on the back wall.
I think it is “Jim Walters”, not really sure.
Now it has faded like the measure drawn
just at the edge of the mirror’s frame.
Carolyn O’Connell lives in Richmond-on-Thames. Her collection Timelines was published by Indigo Dreams August 2014 http://www.indigodreamsbookshop.com/#/carolyn-oconnell/4586178898