The windows sweat.
We’re sitting in the scratchy chair,
My brother squirms against the wooden arm.
The newly mended fire stings my toes.
We hear his drinking laugh
Ricochet along the passage.
Mother checks the room, her smile’s in place,
The curtains flinch, the fire sparks.
Toes tucked up, hissing ears, ready
To melt upstairs, to kiss, confess
Or search for pennies in his turn-ups.
Tonight it’s chips.
We kneel on the rug to eat,
He tells us tales as we lick our salty fingers