for James O’Sullivan
Back then you were such a believer
in being everything wonderful;
in being two rainbows side-by-side;
in being an all-day full Irish breakfast.
Now you are the bins still not taken out,
yesterday’s dishes filling the sink,
the neighbour’s dog that never shuts up,
the puddle about to leap into the air.
Now you are the bed always unmade,
the form in the drawer, still not filled out,
the wheels desperately needing air,
the damp creeping unopposed across the wall –
unrecognisable from the fresh coffee brew of back then.
A pocket with a hole in it, now,
dust collecting on the tops of photo frames.
Milk in the fridge gone bad, the tea already made.
A clock that only tells the wrong time, but I’ll never forget
back then, when you were the umbrella
on every rain-lashed afternoon
that the wind could never blow inside out.
Yes, you were a good turn about to happen,
a letter arriving that could only be good news.
I know now that back then my life was a fat wallet
in a world of pick-pockets,
and, of course, now you’re only a phone in a room
that’s never rung, not even once.
You’re a train shrieking out of the station
that no one’s boarded in forever.