Black snow fell on us –
newspaper ashes

the sun a ball of frost
far above the line of rooftops –

and we waited, everyone waited.

Men watching from back bedrooms,
women bending frozen shirts,

and boiler-suits hung forever in closets
smelling of oil and iron.

The old were afraid to die alone
behind barred doors,

and the evening air tasted of smoke.

Still we waited
like horses at gates,

as the night laughed
with the sound of street football,

a child’s skull
stolen from the disused churchyard.