Them and You


after Dennis O’Driscoll


They go down to the house boat,

where someone is tuning an acoustic guitar.

You stay home alone in your tent.

They drive gleaming sports cars down

motorways built especially for them.

You stall on the Headford Road roundabout.

They are unruffled

as a table cloth at the Lord Mayor’s banquet.

You turn an argument about punctuation into

a murder trial, yourself in the dock,

the judge putting on his black cap.

They get their names in the newspapers.

You count how many times


They travel to watch Barcelona play

Real Madrid. Your team gets relegated.

They shake hands with people

you wish you’d been introduced to.

They know their way around the wine list.

You drink lager shandy because you’re driving.

They have affairs with dental assistants

in third floor apartments by the docks.

You think of nothing else.

They can brush things off.

You have to know why

you weren’t invited.

Kevin Higgins’s latest collection is The Ghost in the Lobby (Salmon Press)