by Nick Laird
You have to drive five counties
and come over the hill to Salisbury Plain,
pass the cloud-shadow grazing
on hayfields and A-roads and grass,
and decelerate into the very last town
where a sign points to the Ice Factory,
and in front of you is sea.
You have to take the second left
to find yourself, lost, of course,
in a hamlet with one phone box
and an empty stretch where seagulls peck
beside the bronze feet of an alderman
who watches, like some soul who outlived,
in the end, everyone he loved.
Nick Laird is a lawyer, critic, poet, and novelist. He was born in 1975 in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. He has lived in Warsaw and Boston, and now lives in London. His fiction and poetry have received many awards, including the Ireland Chair of Poetry prize, the Betty Trask Prize, and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. (10/2006)