In the Attic

Tucked in the pocket
of an Afghan coat,
an anarchy of hankies,

Fox’s glacier mint, ticket 
to Regent’s Park
for a long-ago rendezvous                                             

with a man who failed to show
you glimpsed last month
in Holland Park

leaning on a silver capped cane,
neck brace, his eyes no duller
than the morning

fifty years ago
down Portobello Road he
flourished a puce silk cravat 

out from under spotted sheets
on a bric-à-brac stall beside 
The Sun in Splendour. You 

jealous of a girl he smiled at,
sitting on the kerb – bare feet
in the gutter, blue mould

orange, crumpled Rizla pack –
sipping on a reefer.
A henna-haired flower

in a cheesecloth frock
you itched to pluck, to crush.
The air a ferment

of patchouli, rotten apples.  
Love the One You’re With
coasting out an open window.

His maestro’s hands that night,
white and fluent, charmed
you, all aquiver, from your lair 

of convent niceties, and doubts.
Hexed with murmured phrases,
coaxing, till you pledged

to banish Quelque Fleurs and
Apple Blossom, douse yourself 
in Eau Sauvage, suck mints.





Pratibha Castle


Pratibha Castle lives in West Sussex. Widely publicised in journals and anthologies including Agenda, International Times, IS&T, Spelt, Tears In The Fence, London Grip, High Window and forthcoming in Stand, she has been longlisted and given special mention in numerous competitions including Bridport Prize, Indigo Press and Welsh Poetry Competitions. Her award-winning debut pamphlet A Triptych of Birds & A Few Loose Feathers (Hedgehog Press 2022) will be joined by Miniskirts in The Waste Land (Hedgehog Poetry Press 2023), set in Notting Hill and India in the swinging sixties.

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