King Konged in Margate

by Jill Tritton

Bedtime. Me, aged five, in Mrs Gethings’
B and B. Door shut, grown-ups far away.
Curtains open still. That was a mistake.

The window furthest from me turns ape-shaped,
splattering the bedroom monkey-brown
and me all stiff and human in the bed

trying to get smaller while the monkey
grows and grows and grows and grows
over the ceiling, sliding down the walls

till I am wrapped up tight in monkey breath,
till I am stuffed with fur and bits of claw,
till I smell his dream dreaming all of me.

It was a shadow, Dad says, that was all
and makes a grown-up smile into his egg
and lugs the suitcase to the car and waves

away the sea, the gas works, gritty beach.
Me, in the back, marooned in childhood truth,
pick greasy monkey droppings from my teeth.