By Chloe Scaling


I have four sets of keys

Three houses and a workplace

None of which I own,

Only one where I pay rent.

I have four sets of keys

For many different doors

Locks, alarm codes and passwords

But where do I call



A student house

I pay my rent

But it doesn’t just belong

To me

We share the bills

Upon the hill


I need a place

To vent


My parents’ house

For over twenty years

I’ve known it inside out

But as independence grows

The connection goes

Once “home”, this place becomes

Another place to rest,

Lay my head for a few nights,

Am I now a house guest?


Another set of keys

For a summer house-sit

One week in, I’m still

Getting used to it

Where pots and pans live

How appliances work

But at least it’s a place

Lots of space

Just for me


The last set of keys

For my work over summer

Selling art and now booze,

Wrapping pictures in paper,

Using stillness to read

Familiar, but still

A nice change of scene


I often say “home”

Meaning Pickering or Durham –

Wherever I’m not

Or the next place I’ll be

I’ve realised that home is not

Just the town, small and twee

Not just where you sleep:

Maybe for me,

“Home” is the people I meet

On Sunday for worship

Silent in a circle

In town for coffee

Or the odd cinema trip

Cooking meals together,

Making pita breads and dip:

Perhaps “home”

Is the relationships we build.


Maybe “home” isn’t a thing,

Perhaps you just feel it

When we met in Warwick,

There was community spirit

Now that’s ended, where’s home?

I guess still with Friends

From York to Hackney

Now links have been made

There’s no getting rid of me.


Right now, nothing is permanent

People, places, activities

All change, limited rest

They say home is where the heart is,

Well, my heart is in my chest.


Photograph: Jessica Paterson via Flickr and Creative Commons

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