By Josa Keyes
If I knew that Love was coming over
I’d polish every surface in my house
I’d scatter Vanish powder across the floor
And bend my back like Millet’s gleaners to brush
It firmly into every tuft and fibre.
Henry hoover’s smiling face would no longer
Lurk beneath a heap of laundry done
But suck up all the signs of careless life
From mats and fitted carpets, boards and tiles
I’d crawl on bended knee along the skirting board
And take the Pledge to every single mote
Mr Sheen would get an unaccustomed outing
And bleach would whiten every porcelain bowl
The crusts of London’s stony-hearted water
Would be whisked away with liberal Viakal
Using old toothbrushes I’d fidget all the traces
Of grub and grime that human life attracts.
From every groove and cranny in my hard-won home.
Then I’d bash the cushions into shape
Light candles, make quenelles, chill wine.
But there’s no sign that Love is coming over
No breathless call or text, no poetry for me
And so I’ll drift within my usual cloudscape
Of dust and dregs and hair and old tea leaves.
I took my Master’s in Creative Writing last year at Brunel, supervised by Bernadine Evaristo, and her encouragement set me free. I won the Arts and Humanities faculty dissertation prize, earned a distinction, and was planning to get into teaching and more poetry performance this year. Then everything closed down. At the same time my youngest left home, and my mind gradually shed the preoccupations of solo motherhood for the first time in 31 years. Poems came to me almost daily. A selection of the best ones, My Love Life and Other Disasters, will be published on 14 February 2021.