In my dream the dead have arrived
to wash the windows of my house.
There are no blinds to shut them out with.
The clouds above the Lough are stacked
like the clouds are stacked above Delft.
They have the glutted look of clouds over water.
The heads of the dead are huge. I wonder
if it’s my son they’re after, his
effortless breath, his ribbon of years –
but he sleeps on unregarded in his cot,
inured, it would seem, quite naturally
to the sluicing and battering and parting back of glass
that delivers this shining exterior.
One blue boy holds a rag in his teeth
between panes like a conjuror.
And then, as suddenly as they came, they go.
And there is a horizon
from which only the clouds stare in,
the massed canopies of Hazelbank,
the severed tip of the Strangford Peninsula,
and a density in the room I find it difficult to breathe in
until I wake, flat on my back with a cork
in my mouth, stopper-bottled, in fact,
like a herbalist’s cure for dropsy.