States of Poetry 2016 - Western Australia | ‘Surely Someone’ by Carolyn Abbs

Tenement Building (black & white photograph)
Chris Kilip, Tate Britain, 2014


you view the house from across the street
part of a terrace       it fills the frame
the roof is cut off       no sky      dim light

upstairs      a balcony
door      window        bricked-up      defiant
downstairs       a curtain is torn
you move in closer         but can't see into the room
front door     pint of milk on the step
dustbin on the kerb

it's the pint of milk that disturbs you
you wait       if you wait        surely someone
will fetch in the milk...

not even a sparrow pecks at the silver-top
the house      bereft of sound
is like the backdrop to a disused stage
rain has left sheen on the tarmac

a month later        you read:
bulldozers arrived         like thunder


Carolyn Abbs

'Surely Someone' was published in Cordite Poetry Review, no. 49, 2015.