Space is heavy, a weight to be slung across
a shoulder and hauled from room to room.
Space is hungry. An extra room devours a meal
or two a week, demands meat, more meat,
the choicest cuts.
Space sets a place at the table, tips you
from your armchair and will not let you rest.
Space is a thief. It rifles under your mattress
and through your cupboards, finds the jam jar
filled with coppers and complains Is this all?
Space takes your winter coat and cuts the sleeves,
picks at the stitching on your shoes until the leather
parts and rain pours in.
Space is a formula - a sliding scale
of jiggery pokery multiplied by fear.
Space says you have little and deserve less;
it expands to squeeze the air from your chest,
swells to fill the nothing left with space.
Jacqueline Smith works as an interviewer and lives in London. Her poems have previously been published in Ambit, South Bank Poetry, Inkspill, Spilt Milk and Cake. Bedroom Tax first appeared in South Bank Poetry.