The Plumbago Hedge
Our mother grew a plumbago hedge.
The mauve wispy flowers moved in the hot still air
And was always in need of trimming.
We want some privacy, our mother said
When the next door neighbour came home drunk.
We sat into the late evening
Watching the picture crowd go home.
I'd forgotten how hot it was in Northam.
We ran a milking cow down the back on our half acre.
My brothers took turns in milking
and left bowls of milk on the back of the Metters.
Our mother scooped the thick clotted cream
Over stewed black plums
Picked from the overhanging branches of the neighbour's tree.
A high steel fence separates out neighbours this second time round.
The air conditioners hammer into the night.
Crossroads at Isca - novel set in Roman Britain