The Tucana Constellation of the Southern Skies

Long listed for the WALKING HOME writing competition run in January & February 2022

3am in London, walking west to east, there is no darkness here, night-lights shine the way, like the plastic toucan’s beak when I was small, and it’s just rained, reflections bounce on the black-toffee stretch of Commercial road, that I walked east to west on student marches to Westminster, but now it’s not a righteous act, chucked out of a club at 2am, found asleep the third time, pretending to be drunk, after taking drinks from strangers, sipping to make the sweetness last, hiding out in the toilet when persistence and exhaustion bang on my brain, like popping-candy, and when the club closes they find me there asleep, my bag against the cistern, my body wedged between the toilet and the gingerbread-coloured cubicle wall, and now I’m free, the road ahead of me, bag back on my back, heading homeward, to familiar sights, maybe to find a bed for the night, or pass time walking there, my last square of chocolate melting in my mouth, while everyone in this concrete jungle’s asleep but me and this jaguar, that appears at Salmon lane, and tells me he’s going home, over the bridge, East along the canal, do I want to follow him, and because I do, I take pieces of my past from pockets, inch squares of baby blanket, scrabble pieces, bracelet seed-beads, and let them drop in time, like the Tucana constellation, star by star, to give sniffer dogs a trail, to find me, if I don’t make it home.


Read more from the Long List of poems and stories submitted to the WALKING HOME writing competition. Watch winning authors reading their work on the video of the Write About Walking Home showcase event that took place on Sunday 25 September 2022.

Itching to write something yourself? Submit a piece to our Shorelines project, and invite your friends to read it aloud. Join one of our creative writing workshops or keep up to date with all our competitions by signing up to our curated newsletter here.

Purchase a copy of WALKING 2022 – an illustrated anthology of poems and stories on the theme of “Walking Home” for €4.99+p&p (see image to the left) or go for a bundle of WALKING 2022 AND WALKING 2021 – a similar illustrated anthology of poems and stories on the theme of “Walking and Listening”- a bumper package of 27 poems and stories and save €1.50 (see image to the right). Purchase from our Shop.

Bundle of two illustrated anthologies

Rosaleen Lynch

Rosaleen Lynch

Rosaleen Lynch, an Irish community worker and writer in the East End of London with words in lots of lovely places and can be found on Twitter @quotes_52 and 52Quotes.blogspot.com

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