The House Opposite by Hilary Hares

The house opposite
is allowed to sleep
through winter,

its cupboards hollow,
its corners scoured
of their spiders.

After its owners
head south
it defies hibernation,

shape-shifting cushions,
lighting lamps
in unexpected places.

Sensing the coast is clear,
spiders return, bringing young.
Out in the borders

weeds begin a subtle havoc,
rain loosens a tile or two –
just enough to matter.

Upstairs in the cornices
and curtain rails
the incubated grow

in their shrouds,
camphor leaks her breath
into wardrobes.

Hiding its mischief
under caul of dust,
the house opposite

maintains its vigil,
walks through its rooms
as shadow.


Hilary Hares has an MA in Poetry from Manchester Metropolitan University. Her work appears in anthologies and magazines including Amaryllis, Antiphon, Bare Fiction, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Magma, South, Obsessed-with-Pipework, Poems-in-the-Waiting Room, The Interpreter’s House, The Fat Damsel, Under the Radar. She was shortlisted for the Grey Hen and Paragram-Paradox Prizes 2016. Her collection, A Butterfly Lands on the Moon is sold in support of Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care.

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