I was trying to read your mind
in London’s palm, looking for reasons
in the blank faces of shops.
A ghost sign for REFRESHMENTS
high on a wall in York Way
and one for WEIGHING MACHINES
round the corner in Gray’s Inn Road,
were growing fainter, harder to read.
The sun was going down
on The Poor School of Performing Arts,
Espiritu Santo Hairstyles and Nails,
“Hurricane Pool Hall Opening Soon”,
a battered tin advertisement
spinning illegibly in the wind.
Hugo Williams won the TS Eliot Prize in 1999 for Billy’s Rain. His most recent collection is I Knew the Bride (Faber & Faber).