Yes, that’s what it’s like, being back
in the old city that once felt like home –
sort of. I did tell her I felt like a ghost.
Said it as we walked into the library
and as the words left my lips I looked
up to see another face from the past
looking right into me. I could sense
the recognition there and I’m not sure
if anyone understood what I was
trying to say – my fault, not theirs.
We had coffee – a downstairs affairwith low ceilings, oak beams and everything
tight, compact. No windows, a speaker
playing music a shade too loud, the place
bordering on too warm filled with students –
an out of the way place and I felt a strange lifting
of the spirits as I took off my coat. It was
as if I’d been admitted to a secret club
coffee arriving in a lime-green mug
the size of a soup bowl.
Later, after we’d said goodbyeI got on the bus and the feeling
came back again. The window spotted
and smeared so the world outside
was distorted and I felt like I’d been
left behind again. I saw someone
I once knew, recognised him despite
the mire I was looking through.
He waved and I gave him the thumbs up
and grinned in spite of myself.