The Horrid House

In the kitchen

you will find

when you open the creaky door

mould on the bread

cobwebs on the toaster

an exploded spud in the microwave

and warm fat oozing from the cooker

In the bathroom

you will find

when you move the shower curtain

a sink smeared with toothpaste

a hairy sliver of damp soap

an unflushed toilet with a cracked seat

and the smell of the sewer monster

In the bedroom

you will find

when you step across

the underpants a torn comic graffitied with felt tips

a crushed and empty can of Coke

a teddy squatting in the waste paper basket

and a single lonely sock

In the garden

you will find

when you trip over the wheelbarrow

a rusty spade in the compost heap

a drainpipe drowned in nettles

a kite in a dead tree

and a headless gnome

In the morning

you will find

when you get up for breakfast

Mum pouring cornflakes

Dad drinking tea

everything tidy

and another nightmare gone

‘The Horrid House’ has been previously published in an anthology called ‘The Common Mind’ edited by Kerrie Pateman.



Jeff Gallagher is from Sussex, UK. His poems have featured in publications such as Rialto, The High Window and The Journal. He has had numerous plays for children performed nationwide. He was the winner of the Carr Webber Prize 2021. He has been a teacher of English and Latin. He also appeared in an Oscar-winning movie. He has no handles.