The smell of smoke lingers still,
do you remember
how it caught in our throats
and made us splutter?
Those games we played,
we dared each other to run on the factory roof
and leap over the gaps in the rafters,
heart stopping now to think about the rot
beneath our feet and how we were unaware
of any danger, laughing while it creaked below us
and threatened to cave in.
Remnants of machines
left a rusted tangle of sharp edged
metal that we climbed fearlessly,
catching our clothes and skinning our hands,
eight foot, ten above the concrete floor
playing monkey bars, hilarious to catch someone
and tickle them while they held on.
Slipping in under the barbed wire,
it was our playground
hide and seek heaven if you could
pick your way up the collapsed stairs,
the best spot I found was
squeezed inside an old fuse box
listening to the crackle and buzz
and you outside calling for me,
screaming with laughter
and a chorus of ‘you’re it’.
The bigger kids,
they lit the fires and left a black shell
but we played there still,
attracted by the bleakness of it
and the fact it was forbidden.