Edward Hopper, Sun In An Empty Room

Christopher Horton

Newly Arrived  


The neighbours each ask us why we left London. 

What they really want to know is why we chose to settle here 

of all places. First off, we have nothing much to tell them.  

Given more time, we might mumble something 


about commuting schedules and our passion for the last red phone box  

which we saw online or, more romantically, in a dusty book  

bought second-hand from a wise sage of Kentish lineage  

as if this was all predestined and, along those lines, I might recall 


that I came here once, years ago, in an ecstatic daze, a state 

of otherworldliness, then drifted to the edge of the Great Stour 

and cupping my hands, lent down and took the water. 

The neighbours wouldn’t buy it. No doubt, they’ve all conferred. 


The house is still musty with the scent of the previous owner 

as if she never left. Has she left? We never saw her leave. 

Her mail still arrives with no forwarding address. 

She has left marks and holes in the walls that appear like scars 


on a user’s arms. Her left post-it notes are highly cryptic.  

On the second day, we dared each other  

to go further into the storage spaces beneath the stairs. 

The attic was left without a ladder. On our third day, 


two giant buzzing beasts urgently flew out through its hatch. 

They buzzed mechanically, moved with precision, 

seeming to carry some unknown inheritance,  

or disinheritance, or somehow existing between two entrances.  


They did not appear again. We are in the fifth day now.  

I really did see them, I say, when you pull that face you pull. 


Christopher Horton has been published in The North, Poetry London, Ambit and Magma. His pamphlet Perfect Timing, is published by tall-lighthouse.

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