Carol Ann Duffy

Sleeping Place (What He Said)

Over the railings, headstones.
When they padlock the gates, over I climb.
Getting late

Mourned, otherly cold, just bones,
it is only their names and dates they claim.
Signed-off mates.

What happens is, is they dig
the day before. The grey angels by night,
stunned, bereaved.

She squeezes through, my thin dog.
I follow her bark, like imagined light,
to a grave.

There’s always a shallow one,
scooped out above grandparents, husbands, wives,
to be close.

So I’ve blagged this cheap red wine,
cane it; my spine to a pillar of lives,
still missed most.

I roll out the sleeping-bag
then crawl in with the dog on top; half-pissed,
sick, coughing.

You see their hands when you beg;
a handful of coins; a handful of dust
on a coffin.