I have started to research clouds and how they might taste in different cities. Grandad tells me the clouds are bostin’ around here though: “Full of flavour, wench.” He tells me how he’d scrage his knees terrible to reach the top of the Wrekin, racing his mates to taste the sulphur on the peak. The whisp of the factories they’d come to work in. But Nan says: “He’s yampy, bab. They was too busy clarking about to catch the clouds.” She tells me instead how they were, “a cack-handed an’ half-soaked bunch” and Grandad tells me, “doe listen, bab, she’s barmy”. Nan end its, “He’s got a bob on himself,” and she turns to talk of “snap”. I listen to their workshop tongues, watch Nan’s kitchen-cleaner hands scrape out spam for the frying pan, to be served on cobs. Grandad says it looks like rain.
Charley Barnes is an author and academic from the West Midlands, UK. She is a lecturer in Creative and Professional Writing at the University of Wolverhampton, alongside being the current director of Sabotage Reviews, and the editor of Dear Reader. Charley’s debut poetry collection, Lore: Flowers, Folklore, and Footnotes was published by Black Pear Press in February 2021. She also writes crime fiction under Charlotte Barnes.