Title: Faux Amis

Author: Andrew Johnston

In: Sport 23: Spring 1999

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, November 1999

Part of: Sport

Keywords: Verse Literature

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Sport 23: Spring 1999

Faux Amis

Faux Amis

page 44

for Christine

‘My mother forbad us to walk backwards. That is how the dead walk, she would say. Where did she get this idea? Perhaps from a bad translation.’

Anne Carson, ‘On Walking Backwards’

1. If
If you see a tree in the cemetery,
no question but it's a yew.

So Ifs, on the edge of Caen, gives Yews—
like ‘yous’, the word we used

as children to count
true friends. And then

a bus goes by (bus is bus
unless car, a bus that travels far)

flashing Ifs—the end of the line
where there is no doubt.

page 45

2. But
No question but it's a goal.
Or a department store

of large surface,
a wide floor—

canapés sail across it. Like
the boat—but a tub—

the Duc de Normandie,
that made a u-turn at

the English coast
and carried me back to you.