The real thing squatted
in chilled glass bottles,
entombed on concrete shelves
in the galley kitchen:
My Aunty Ruby’s maidenhair ferns:
tiny forests peopled with Robin Hoods.
In her asphalted back yard
we fed staghorns with banana skins,
and broke open coconuts
with hammers on the step.
Swapping showbag sweets
we quarrelled over each roll of Allen’s
and never really explored
the cat-pissed, rat-infested stables.
New Year’s Eve was deafening
with the sirens of ships.
I thrilled in my favourite dress
on summer nights, walking past
dark dangerous Italian boys
down bluestone lanes to the ice cream shop.
Now the real thing is an avatar
and Coke is plastic;
brick terraces in Derby Street torn down
in sixties ignorant of heritage,
for cat-pissed, rat-infested flats.