Finding Ingrid 1958

Ingrid lived
with her sister
off the New Kent Road,
and having found
the address,
I went to the house
and knocked at the door.

A girl about 20
answered the door:
what do you want?
She said.

Is Ingrid around?
I asked.

Who wants to know?
The girl asked.

Who are you?
I said.

I'm her big sister,
what's it to you?

Do you always
ask questions?
I said.

Ingrid poked
her head
out beside
her big sister:
hello Benny,
she said,
it's Benny,
she said,
to her big sister
who gazed at her.

Who the heck
is Benny?
The big sister asked.

He's my friend
from Banks House,
Ingrid said.

Better come in then,
the big sister said.

So we went in,
and the big sister
shut the door,
and followed us
into the sitting room.

I sat on a sofa
and Ingrid sat
beside me
grabbing my hand.

Suppose you
want a drink,
the big sister said.

Yes please,
I said.

The sister
walked off
and left us alone.

How are you?
I said.

Bit upset
about Mum
and her
being in prison,
and I want
to see her,
but I can't
at the moment,
Ingrid said.

Do you think she
done your old man in?
I asked.

No she didn't,
Ingrid said,
someone else
did it,
Dad had
many enemies
could have been them.

I miss you not
being around,
I said.

Miss you too,
Ingrid said,
have to go
to a different
school now,
and I hate it.

How long are you
going to be here
with your sister?
I asked.

Depends on what
happens to Mum
and if she's found
guilty or not,
Ingrid said.

Are you allowed
out with me?
I said.

Don't know
have to ask my sister
as she's responsible
for me
at the moment,
Ingrid said.

The sister came in
with glasses of milk
and a biscuit each
and put them down
on a table.

Can I go out
with Benny?
Ingrid said.

Where about?
The sister asked.

Could take a bus
to London Bridge
and walk along
by the River
and see the boats
and ships,
I said,
I got some
pocket money.

The sister went
to her purse
and gave Ingrid
some money:
OK but don't be late
and be careful,
the sister said.

We will,
I said.

She walked
off again.

Ingrid kissed
my cheek.

We ate
our biscuits
and drank
our milk.

I looked
at around the room
which unlike
Ingrid's parents' flat
did not seem
full of gloom.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Topic(s) of this poem: childhood