Why did you bring us here if you didn’t
Mean to stay? I stand on this balcony,
Staring out at the new flats opposite:
The pot plants and wet clothes left out to dry.
Our daughter calls for Daddy, or pinches
My cheeks when you fail to appear. She sleeps
In my bed night after night, and twitches
Like a fish on dry land. Now we watch trees
As they drop their leaf-notes on the river.
There is a game we play. In the morning,
As whitewater gets shaken down the weir
Like silver down a griddle, we name each thing
The flow leaves behind as it races through:
Scooter, high chair, pram. No word from you.
From the unpublished sequence Care. Listen to Matthew Clegg reading this poem on location in Neepsend, Sheffield: