(i.m. I.H.)

The lately dead still arrive in the corner of your eye
Past the restaurant window, preparing slow smiles of pride
At achieving their return. They know that without them
You can never be the same, so they cheat for a while.
They keep trying to work a parole to the usual places,
They won’t be excluded from them if you are there.

Their fingers have pressed the latch and the door nearly opens,
But then their smile turns embarrassed because they find
It behaves like a turnstile: they think they have admission,
But this door is fixed to prevent them coming back in.
And you just can’t help, at all; if you went out to greet them
They would not be there, no one in the street would have seen them.

Then slowly the corner of your eye
Forgets to look.

from The Men Around Her Bed (Enitharmon, 2004), © Alan Brownjohn 2004, used by permission of the author

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