the butcher shop in Harlem,
rabbits strung round a barrel by their ears,

his old man cursing in French,
gulping down oysters and whiskey at the kitchen table,

his mother staring into the sink,
asking a drowned Irish boy the price of potatoes,

his sister bobbing her hair,
sneaking out to meet an Italian bookie,

his favourite aunt
dancing off the edge of the fire escape,

his old man
bursting a blood vessel in his brain,

his mother
being strapped into a bed at Bellevue,

his bow-legged brother whispering in the dark,
what do you think they’ll do with us?

a man called George George
handing him a tiny metal car.

Yet when he wakes up hollering
the nightmare’s always the same,

just some guy
coming through the window to get him.