In Process

Where The Birds Got In

If I could just get my room clean.

I’d never step on change again. The minor disappointment with its value would be a thing of

the past.


(This is definitely €2
5c… feet have awful spatial reasoning)


If I could just get my room clean then everything would sort itself out like novelty sized


I’d eat better, sleep better, dream better, do better


My problem is with clutter, I’ve never been able to keep things clear. In school my locker

was always a mess, a minefield of half used notebooks, newsletters, old homework and bent



But I never lost a thing.


If my room was clean maybe I’d feel better.


About What?

I don’t know

If there was any kind of order there’d be no structure.


There are shapes drawn in the dust of shelves and on the walls there are little parts of me.

Things like postcards, lyrics, quotes and love letters hidden behind photos of friends so I

don’t accidentally read them on purpose.


On the floor there are shoes and socks and shoes and shirts and wires and more shoes.


The rads don’t work though.


And every year they need to be bled.

Which means every year, my mother and I have the same argument.

Her​ point is that, while it’s my room they’re her rads and she doesn’t want a plumber being

subjected to ​it.

​My point is that ​it,​ as she puts it, is a representation of me and I’m an honest person so if I

cleaned my room for a plumber it would be like lying, because I’m 22 years old and I’ve

listened to all the right podcasts and I’m wise beyond my years.


Her point is the correct one… and the cup of tea I bring her lets her know, that ​I ​know, that I

know nothing.


There is one room in our home that ​is ​in order.


For a while it was my sister’s, then mine, then no one’s and for a brief time it was my sister’s


She didn’t live with us it just housed all the stuff she wouldn’t take or throw away.


After that it was haunted. It was taken over by a phantom that only I recognised by how it

appeared and not how it used to be.

My mother and brother used to tell me that it wasn’t always a phantom, that it used to tell

stories and said ​‘bum’​ instead of ​‘heart’​ because killing a child with a penknife was more

cruel than comforting.


That it used to be the life of the party and, even though it was immature, that it loved us

deeply and was caring in its own way.


Mostly I just remember how it haunted that room.

How the birds got in and how it smelled of depression and resentment. How you always

knew when it was there but never saw it.


The phantom is all but gone now and the room is clean.

It’s been airing out for a long time and has hosted too many people to ever remain haunted.

The painted wallpaper is rough from where I hung posters, my sister’s records are stacked in

the corner and there’s a suitcase belonging to my aunt who visits each summer.


There is no background noise now and there are no more ghosts. But you can still see where

the birds got in.


Ethan Golding is graduate of Dublin City University’s school of Communications and English and is currently studying for his Masters in Creative Writing.
Although for the past year his focus has been primarily on writing plays, much of his work crosses genres, often mixing poetic prose with a stage writing sensibility. Where the Birds got In is a poetic monologue from his short play Three Disparate Things.