Title: Sport 23: Spring 1999

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, November 1999

Part of: Sport

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Sport 23: Spring 1999

Andrew Johnston

Andrew Johnston

page 43


‘the freedom to be sad’—

the very idea can make you glad,
and lusaphone—hello?—

this is Portuguese speaking.
Ladies and gentlemen,

life is hard. But
there are grilled sardines for lunch—

we crunch their
delicate skeletons.

Faux Amis

page 44

for Christine

‘My mother forbad us to walk backwards. That is how the dead walk, she would say. Where did she get this idea? Perhaps from a bad translation.’

Anne Carson, ‘On Walking Backwards’

1. If
If you see a tree in the cemetery,
no question but it's a yew.

So Ifs, on the edge of Caen, gives Yews—
like ‘yous’, the word we used

as children to count
true friends. And then

a bus goes by (bus is bus
unless car, a bus that travels far)

flashing Ifs—the end of the line
where there is no doubt.

page 45

2. But
No question but it's a goal.
Or a department store

of large surface,
a wide floor—

canapés sail across it. Like
the boat—but a tub—

the Duc de Normandie,
that made a u-turn at

the English coast
and carried me back to you.