A poem by Emma Nihill. 

When attic rooms in London haven’t been made into two or more smaller rooms, they tend to have widows to the front and back of the house,

so you get the sounds from the street, as well as from other people’s gardens.

From my attic room I can hear an electric drill from the building works two doors down,

and a car going past,

and a plane,

and a baby not quite crying but gurgling in such a way as to suggest that if it doesn’t get attention soon it’ll start crying.

I also just caught the smell of cooking from somewhere below, which is a normal smell for ageing afternoons in my attic room.

I’m looking at my garden and the garden belonging to the young people living
opposite me. They have hanging plant pots and a window box full of bright red and white flowers.

This year the beginning of Autumn feels as though it’s clinging onto Summer’s skirt hem, so it’s hot but also muggy and the sky is grey. The heavy sky makes it seem like everyone is taking a nap (apart from the baby and the builders), or thinking about getting someone else to do dinner.

Most of the bugs left over from late summer stay down in the garden where some dark purple flowers that I think are really beautiful have just bloomed, but every so often a smaller one comes into my room, does a few laps around my desk-lamp and leaves again.

It’s a bit cooler with the late-afternoon breeze and I’ve put on some music to cut out the construction noise, which I hope will stop soon anyway because I think there are regulations that say they have to stop soon,

and also the builders are probably thinking about dinner too.