Laura Tretheway


ingredients 1 bunch of fresh basil / 1 onion / 2 cloves of garlic / 2 tins of chopped tomatoes / 2 tbsp olive oil / 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar / 500g whole-wheat spaghetti / parmesan cheese

preparation Pick your basil leaves, carefully leaning over the fire escape so as not to be caught by your unknowing neighbours.Mentally promise not to kill the next plant and perhaps make a recipe to follow for keeping herbs alive during a London winter.

Back home, your mother cultivated plants carelessly, armfuls of basil and mint and coriander appearing in the kitchen big enough to make bouquets out of.

You feel a pang in your chest as you envision it, hand still outreached over the neighbours’ balcony, growing colder and colder as you strive for a piece of home that’s just out of reach.

Laura Tretheway spent 2020 at the Hagley Writers’ Institute. Her work has previously been published in Oscen and Awa Wahine. You can follow her progress on Twitter or Instagram @nightmarew0man