To walk into the flat where it all started, 

And see the fridge the square it had no depth, 

It would have crumbled under water jets. 

To walk out of the bridgehead into dawn. 


Outside this incandescence neither green  

Nor yellow in the gardens, June, the birds.  

The traffic on the Westway was still sparse 

And stately as the drivers rubbernecked. 


To say the caller’s name and hold the line, 

To keep the caller there until the end. 

To walk into the almost-longest day, 

The tinnitus of silence after sound. 


Outside this incandescence in the gardens, 

The sprinklers turning in the garden squares. 

from Was it For This (Faber, 2023), © Hannah Sullivan 2023, used by permission of the author and the publishers, Faber & Faber Ltd and Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Hannah Sullivan is an accomplished poet and academic. She was born in London and studied Classics at Cambridge; she has a PhD in ...