By Henry Cockburn

I have built, as I always dreamt I would, a sequence of air vents running though the ceilings of my home. 


Pie cools on the windowsill.

Now the sticky hands of local girls and boys reach in and push soft pastry and dark coagulating fruits into their mouths. 

Beyond their fingers lie washed and ironed five-pound notes, and nips of undiluted cordial. Beyond these lie cigarettes.

They enter, at last, as I knew they would, in their bucket hats and shapeless stonewashed jeans.


Each room leads to another, contents to tantalize, where they can laugh and writhe, and spread their youth across the floor.

Under the air vents.

In my house.

                                                                  *   *  *

Henry Cockburn learned Babylonian at Oxford and Creative Writing at Manchester. He now lives as a writer and dandy in rural Cambridgeshire, with his wife, son, and cocker spaniel.

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