The semi-basement kitchen

The old brown ribbed ‘Belfast sink’

In the dark kitchen corner

One cold bib tap

Jutting over

Sluicing water from its lead veins in volumes

 

The rough wood shelf above the tap

Sat the Iron gridded soap rack

Caked by all sized, long ago used tablets

Thrown in years

To deposit

Carbolic and later scented coatings

On the ribs of rusted iron.

 

To wash our hands and face

The morning ritual

Cold water stinging hands

Quickly, is what to do

Flush the face

Bury so soon

In the ragged towel

Snatched from the window sill hook.

 

So many days

I copied my Dad

Only he stropped

On the leather belt

On the other hook

His frightening

Open razor sharp to scrape.

 

In time

I too became a man

The Ascot flamed

Water hot enough to hurt

My scraped bum fluffed jowls

Swirled down the drain

Along with my innocence.

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