September 2001


After an early shift
I pass the hairdressers and the paper shop,
clean, spaced uniforms of houses
where an old friend lives -
semi’s, Vauxhalls, hanging-basket-driveways.
To save time, I cut along the Ring Road
and down an avenue of bungalows
and bounteous gardens full of fuchsias,
roses and chrysanthemums.
Its quiet
but then again its Tuesday afternoon;
sunlight is cemented in a frosty sky,
just a clip of coldness
advertising autumn.
It is that time of year when, uneasily,
you sense the changes in the air:
shells appear on pavements,
webs straddling the snickets,
and a knowledge, on these hedge-lined
afternoons, that there is no going back.
Walking through the door, I see him hurry
from the landing
with a face like someone’s died.
“You haven’t heard, have you?” he says.


- Simon Zonenblick