Pigeons fly in and out of stone-sized gaps
in the broken windows of the old lady’s home
where she lived most of the time alone.
The kids shout and gather at the spot she’d look
down upon from the landing, seeing god-knows-what
(a coalman’s lorry, chimney sweep, delivery boy?)
and, in the rooms stripped bare, gas mantle, iron
fireplaces, the stair-rods like twisted joints —
nothing gives her life back to this place
but the number 70, exactly as it was
when she moved in first, striped sunblind
across the front door and the trees made it seem just right.
by Gerald Dawe
from Mickey Finn’s Air (2014)