Ingrid usually wore
the faded grey
flowery dress
that had seen


better days
I saw her crossing
Rockingham Street
I was getting


bread rolls
and she was standing
by the wall
of the flats


red eyes
hair unbrushed
where are you going?
she asked


getting rolls
for breakfast
I said
how comes


you're out here
so early?
I asked
my dad


pushed me out
said I was getting
on his nerves
she said


have you had breakfast?
I asked
no not yet
she said


I looked up
Meadow Row
the early morning sun
was breaking


through clouds
you can come back
to my mum's place
I said


have rolls and butter
she looked at me
can I ?
she said


of course
I replied
taking in her red eyes
and untidy hair


and a fading bruise
under her left eye
real butter?
she said


yes and maybe
cheese if you want
I said
she looked at me


her eyes
feeding on me
what now?
she said


come to the bakers
with me and we
can go back


to my mum's place
I said
so we went across


to the baker's shop
and I bought
crusty bread rolls
my mother had said


and we walked back
through the Square
and up the stairs
to the flat


are you sure
your mum
won't mind?
she said


as I opened
the front door
no she won't mind
the more the merrier


I said
and so we went
into the kitchen
and I told my mother


and she said fine
and cut open the rolls
and buttered them
and put in


some cheese
and Ingrid and I
went into
the front room


and we ate them
in an early morning
and as she ate


I gave a secret sigh
seeing the fading bruise
her left eye.


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