London

When the concrete was your duvet

Blinding neon beams your nightlight

Flickering eyelids

you’d never close fully to the world

And the river

Diaphanous as wings

A butterfly cries out clearly

as the water sings

The city’s oldest morgue

A deep freezer for the bodies

of those who were lost

but one day will be found.

You learned to live with death

and the spattered paint of human violence

Those stains have washed out

but it has left a brand on the birdcage

that cradles your heart.

The curried goat you swallow

Casual, in the face of anarchy

The rats and cats emerge

from long buried facilities

They twirl in a form of ballet

Delivered by the scent

that floods the tunnels for miles

Roads of broken smiles

and a world we left behind.

The flash of steel in bras

with no wires

Your head held as high as the moon

as songs of the sirens

works themselves into a lather

The adrenaline

The endless flow of scarlet ink

that once held a palace of memories.

When the streets were marbled with the rivulets

and remains

that no rain could weep away

When cemeteries opened their gates

to listen to whispered words

When you were on the brink

The edge of the bridge with no care

A bottle and a cigarette to carry

you into flight

while the others danced and laughed and screamed

That was love

And you were a real girl.

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