We turned the corner of strange into familiar street,
Where once we ran along, a long time ago,
Where once we laughed, bled, kissed our way down.
Here still it meanders unmoving, ever-distant
A shattered reflection of stained memories reaching-
We stretch out a hand but glass shards lie in the way.
The air smells different now-
No Sunday perfume, no subtle scent of winter snow,
No flower’s breath that buzzing blooms, dies, rots away.
No lazy, heavy summer air with sweaty promise unfulfilled
And there, hanging in the air, a touch more spice-
Less roast beef on never-ending, tranquil Sunday afternoons.
Now children do not run, in patterned jumpers, dirty jeans,
Out the garden gate to jeer or celebrate a new playmate
But barely glance blankly out of windows- blank.
We are the strangers- the strays, we wander openly
Into undefended territory where they do not stand,
But shy away, in darkened rooms lit only by the screens before them.
Yet one door remains the same, peeling paint, lock well worn.
How many times did we slip this latch,
Slam, click, watch it wobble in its frame?
How many times have we run to it, hidden behind it,
Opened it to the postman clutching mail gripped in rubber bands;
Or caught the milkman dressed in white on an early morning flight?
Now here, she is caught, a shadow in the half light of a dusty hall,
Guiltily her head half-turned, dressed in black and white
Clutching the radiator with what little strength remains;
A shade lighter, less defined and fading into grey,
Beside the wooden chair where he had sat,
Eyes as empty as is now the seat, and just as cold.
And we note to ourselves how,
Besides everything, nothing has changed.