In How Many Languages Can You Say the Word Grass?

Following Salaam’s death I feel
I have to answer the door in case
another of the cats is bleeding in the road.

At 12:03 there were two smartly dressed
white men on my doorstep.

They were smiling. They did not seem
affable enough to be Witnesses
and they were not holding

copies of The Watchtower although
the one on the left had a briefcase.

Good morning – no, good afternoon now,
just about. Haha. Do you speak
Russian or Ukrainian? I shook my head.

Any of your neighbours? I shook my head.
Thank you for your time – have a good day!

Their English was accented but fluent.
I didn’t ask why they wanted to know
because it was just me and one cat

in the house and I wanted them gone.
As they stepped through my gate

I had a premonition of fists and boots.
A woman screaming. Probably they were
from a church or a community centre.

Probably they were lovely men. But people
in this area do not like Eastern Europeans

and if I were Visas & Immigration this
is what I would do – go door to door
looking respectable but not official

and ask what languages
residents’ neighbours speak.


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