I hardly noticed where I was walking: each of the streets seemed much the same. But then some odd smear of colour half-seen made me stop by a low wall with a grin of metal stumps like iron teeth ground down.
I saw a weeping laburnum tree, with sagging epaulettes of sulphurous yellow hanging from damp twisted limbs.
A few slabs smeared with streaks of moss ran from the gap where once was a gate to a black door. On either side, greasy windows, in the room a few faded dusty books: it seemed to me that every one was telling the life of the laburnum.
Mark Valentine’s work has appeared in M58, PN Review, Agenda, Reliquiae, Marble, Wild Court, at the National Poetry Library (UK) and in the TLS gossip column in Esperanto. He also writes ghost stories and essays on obscure authors.