I unlatched the door. Safe in the privacy
of a cupboard shaped to contain a bath
I slid into the inviting water
and closed the door.

Eyes half closed, I lay chasing fantasies,
my nine-year-old body detached
from my dreaming mind, which wandered to
far off places on imagination’s magic carpet.

This enclosed space was the only place
where, uninterrupted, I was free
to travel to other worlds,
live other lives.

The present did not exist until I became aware
of an intruder, the Peeping Tom
of Mrs Puschella’s sky-high tree
peering through the tiny window,
the shadows of its dancing leaves
intimately exploring the rapidly cooling water.

Time to step out on to the rag rug,
the blessing, the small island
in the sea of ice-cold linoleum
which stretched from my haven
to the door of the back bedroom.

© Marion Sharville

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