Owen Come Home

Sometimes in July, when the wind cries in the right direction, I hear a tremulous calliope sighing across the flats.

As a child I would sit out there for hours listening and daydreaming; giving form to my mother’s words.

It’s calling to them, Owen, calling to the ghosts of the past; telling them to come and entertain again.

I can hear it, mother, I really can.

The wind calls them, and they always come: those who performed and those who burned; the perfumed girls and short-sleeved boys who kissed and cheered on circular pews whilst lions were tamed and acrobats twirled.

They come to see the Insect Twins who harness wasps and make them swim; they come to laugh at Emmett’s clown, the Wall of Death and Rose-Lee Browne.

But a sideshow of souls needs an audience.

They stay this time, not like before; away, away they ran in rings, though trapped right under big top flames. Others found a different fire when they tried to bolt through the tiger chutes.

Never cancel a show, the roustabouts say, it’s bad for business and bad luck, anyway. I wish they’d summoned Madame Browne; she could have asked about the clown that normally fills the genny up, and if he had replaced the cap.

In her crystal ball would summer-dry straw burn on the shore?

What does dear mother think of all this now? I watch her at the kitchen window; rinsing teacups, mind elsewhere. She stares out at the sandy flats. Does she see me – or just the seagulls – floating?

I daydream what she’s said a hundred times to me before.

Can you hear it, Owen? Can you hear the calliope? It’s calling them to you.

Yes mother, I hear it, and evermore it calls me, too.

About haringeyunchained

Haringey Unchained is a collective of students aiming to show case the creative talent of Haringey Sixth Form College in Tottenham, London. We think that through the promotion of our creative thoughts, we can educate our community, bringing to the foreground the critical and creative consciousness of a vibrant school in a deprived part of London. We are endeavouring to provide this blog as a platform for our community, giving the space to those whose work otherwise might not be seen or read. Being that the cuffs are off, we are able to express through our photography, art, short fiction and poetry, what’s really on our minds. We are free.

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