Write About Your Home. She flushes at the triumph of a last full stop. About to serve the lunch, her father skims, his smile crumpling to a frown. Voice icicle strict, he charges her to rip the pages out, strike through the paragraph under last week’s homework at the bottom of the page, Miss Clarke’s well thought out, good work, spangly gold star. A tale of the bedroom with the daisy papered walls they made her swap with daddy, for the dressing room by ma’s. Jock’s bark at the plop on the mat of envelopes: thick cream, brown, tissue thin the sky shade of her frock; stamps she pilfered from the bin: monkeys, exotic blossom, the once a snake. Post her father tidies by the silver toast rack, pinch waist coffee pot, ironed copy of The Times, on the breakfast tray he hustles of a morning up to stooped Judge Droop, retired, and wheezing, still abed. Of evening primrose spires, their yellow hands bowling towards the sun, cowering shut come cloud or blackbird evensong. No hint of tentacles that writhe at night from out the cupboard, drawer, beneath the bed to slink in dreams inside the blankets.
Pratibha Castle, born in Dublin, now lives in West Sussex. She began writing on her mother’s death, graduating aged 60 from Chichester University with a first-class honours degree in English and Creative Writing, studying further on their Creative Writing MA. A Triptych of Birds and A Few Loose Feathers (Hedgehog Press), her award-winning debut pamphlet, publishes summer 2021. Her work appears in Agenda, Dreich, The HU, Blue Nib, Fragmented Voices, Saraswati, Reach, Words for the Wild, Bonnie’s Crew, Panoply, Poetry and All That Jazz, Fly on the Wall, Lothlorien Journal. Winner of the NADFAS poetry competition age range 13 – 17, 2009, she was Highly Commended in Binsted Arts, Sentinel Literary Journal Competitions 2021, Storytown 2020, and Hedgehog Press, Postcards from the Hedge: A Bestiary of the Night. She has been longlisted in competitions, including The Brian Dempsey Memorial. Anthologised, she reads regularly on Wilts Radio, The Poetry Place.