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Dear Peter

Cover-to-cover and back-to-back twice,
as I do, once before sleeping,
then between zeds on a train
woken to Tickets, please
and a man saying to his phone
Sperm don’t make you a father,
his wife’s reddening Shhh!
and laughter drowning his own,
up to The Smoke for a day of it
but mostly to check on her eyes,
what secrets we trust to strangers
just for sitting in front of us
and smiling.  I thought of you listening
but not scribbling it down,
taking your chances later
in whatever quiet you can find,
more than a coach of that name
might offer and hopefully richer.
Which is (the point of this at last)
what I am for packing this half asleep,
and we all are for having you
hiding in plain view your history,
class and reading worn lighter
than the weight of them through a life,
like one of those rivers glimpsed
on one of those walks, meandering
apparently without purpose,
glistening suddenly through trees,
always trees, meeting its own light.

Careful What You Wish For (Carcanet), 2015