• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 01
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paper houses

look at us, aren’t we fragile?
with our folded faces, creases
that never fully iron out

sitting in our paper houses, our
cardboard towns with
shoebox stores
sheds made from paper party hats
our buildings are celebrations –
even those with
pink roofs constructed from bills
red unread final invoices
doors lined with eviction notices

receipts for blankets and cloths
lost lotto tickets for curtains
and dog beds, numbers adorning
every surface, there are more than
enough of these to go around

pages of essays possibly plagiarised
make sturdy tables and chairs, furniture,
plates, other small wares

appointment cards and letters
leaflets from paracetamol boxes
(and the paracetamol boxes)


paper houses

some cut down to size to patch
up holes, some wedged under
unstable table legs, some simply
to make homes more structurally sound
some to give more grip on the ground

window frames: twisted newspaper
pages, magazine articles
glossy or matte decor
looking out onto gardens with
shredded lawns, confetti borders

ordnance survey maps on the roads
tiny veins showing the wrong way to go
not to scale, like a child’s play mat

birthday cards cut into strips
for tramlines, and toilet roll tubes
for the trams themselves
school reports and certificates
for fences and gates

lined A4 slipping underfoot
gentle crunching, the sound
of shopping lists birthing creases
beneath leather shoes
gives a new meaning to light houses
that could be blown over with a huff of breath
walls giving way, billowing


paper houses

a satisfying thunk made by a finger flick
and it all goes down
only to be reconstructed
with corrugated cardboard scaffolds

new blank walls –
what do we do with
all this white space?
we fill it
with doodles and photos
and forget-me-not post-its

and hope we’ll find a way
to laminate our little world
by the time the rains come.