In this imaginary world every house has a number
and every person has a name and all the adults
were children once and everyone that died at one point lived.
Someone from this place, a gardener, let’s say,
who looks a lot like a real gardener, points to a big field of dust.
He explains how this field was once fecund, verdant and green,
how it will soon be fresh again. The way he puts it
it’s easy to picture, like how someone might declare to you
Life is undeniably real, how you’d probably believe them.
Of course none of this actually exists, but there are a lot
of imaginary people in this place and they get very real
when you think about them, as if they were actually
eating that meal together, or falling in love, arguing
with their daughters about the future in public.
When I tell people about it, friends of mine or strangers,
they think about it of course, they can’t help it, but it’s different for them.
They don’t really know it like I do, they haven’t really lived here.

©2023 Niall Cunningham