for Máirtín Ó Direáin

there is another language we can speak
we have always spoken
learned at school at the same time
we wrote down words on sharp yellow paper
little rectangles for our butter boxes
to take from our ciseán at going-home time

it is the language of fireplaces sunk in walls
fireplaces that sit on Patrick Street
next to newborn babies and mothers
having a smoke in Hello Kitty pyjamas
royal blue boxes of Roses past their sell-by dates
ward sisters with upside-down watches

stuck in walls of partly demolished buildings
twenty feet up, hearths facing outward
brass and steel grates showing their teeth to passers-by
laughing at us
the innards of these buildings
held in so tight, hammered, melted into concrete

they’re worth something you know
my mother says as we pass
someone will take those some night
bandits skirting through scaffolding
pulling the hunks of metal from fifty-foot walls
implanted like caves in the souls of new homes