The job I needed. The job that contempted me. The job on a Loyalist housing estate in a blank end-terrace house, a crime scene smeared clean. The house impossible to hearten or heat. The job that started each day with lighting a fire with too little fuel. The job with a surfeit of d/anger and too little coal. The house with a door which never closed gently. The house where the water dripped thickly as pus. The house with missile-scarred windows and hate-worded walls. The job that deflected me, defected me. The job that needed to s/tamp me down, ash me. The job anyone could do, no-one could do, no-one should ever do. Newspaper firelighters, twisted into butterflies, too quickly burnt out.
Shelley Tracey’s poetry collection Elements of Distance was published by Lapwing in 2017. Her poems have been published in Abridged, The Honest Ulsterman, The North, Artemis, Bangor Literary Journal, Skylight 47, Bray Arts Journal and North West Words.