is like the best funeral you’ve never been to
when the corpse drifts up out of its white silk
and says it all means something after all,
and she’s seen it and tasted it and
it’s all good, it’s better than good,
and music is just music is everything,
best you can imagine and then some,
so you just burst into tears, and the vicar
gives you the chalice with the holy water
but you can’t take your eyes off the candles
where the disciples and Uncle Frank
are talking football, over to the window
where the road has its nose to the glass
and you see the tears there too, droplets
running down into the little bush Mum
planted before the war before she left dad
for the male nurse whose wife came knocking
screaming but that’s all over now, like when
the duke of Edinburgh shook your hand
and the boy scouts cheered, that cheer
the echo of something else, a sweetness
so calm and full you could have just died
right then and there among the steady violins
and the holy stink of dying flowers.

But the middle bit breaks out in a rash,
starts screaming for love, showing love,
it’s too much, no one knows where to look,
as if the melody was itself a naked body
on fire with need, trampling roses
and paintings of roses, and then slows,
bends its head to the ground, folds up,
beyond memories before the fragrance
falls through the high ceiling, is a bird
is light, takes her sweet skin, her lashes,
makes of them a heartbeat, and now the roses
are everywhere, there’s no place to hide
from their ruthless beauty, and if that man
upstairs doesn’t stop playing that fucking
irish jig I’ll kill him with my best black shoe,
I’m beaten myself to the ground by sweetness,
watching the angels being led off by the constable
downtown, or back over the river, with their bits
of grey cloud, of dust, of half-built ships,
of the smell of whiskey, of talc and cigarettes,
and they don’t fight or argue, swooping
curves over the football pitch, to where her hair
hangs from the goalposts in sheets, where
the letters she’s been trying to send for 25 years
are scattering towards the empty swings.