It’s been a long time since I’ve paid a visit, or written—
my writing was never good, and with my Liam’s death
I thought things would get better
but I’m more lonely now than when we first came over
and nobody knows anyone’s name round here
(if you could pronounce it)

yesterday, the neighbour from the next door flat
who never speaks, who has scars on her face
stole the yard-brush I keep outside
where I always leave it to sweep the landing—
that upset me for some reason

and the bars here are full of Irish people
I don’t know, they seem cemented to the sixties
you need to have eyes like a fly round here
once, these Muslim men cursed at me for smoking
outside on the street, knocked the cigarette from my mouth
at night you treble-bar the door
and become gaga in front of the telly.

I would ask you to visit, but I don’t think you’d like it
maybe when the Hammers are at home
but every work-day I disappear into the city
like all the bloodless faces going down
the steps to the subway, and I clean offices
and pretend to be deaf rather than offend

when I come back again, I listen to the neighbours fighting
in tongues. The buildings here are Shards and Gherkins
and Smoothing Irons of metal and glass
and long trains that curve through the houses
below my flat, but even twenty storeys up
the planes and the blue open sky seem such a long way off.