The coach before mine
Was headed for Bialystock.
Celestial on their concrete rafters, pigeons
Stolid as bolts, or gunmetal,
Nattered to themselves, or helped to
Transmute sunshine into dirt.
But you and I, little lost girl, we’ve known
Fissures of air, like glass
Where living cloudscapes tore and boiled
Above the Russian border;
On the black brink of forest, have you and I,
Sweetheart, trudged through billowing wheat,
Picked mushrooms in a vale of golden dust:
You with your almond eyes and dancing
Cadences of speech, like skylarks.
When was your last postcard? A year ago?
You were coming to London – my city, you said,
But not to me. You were off to pals
Who’d done much more for you, or so I learnt,
Than I had ever done.
Little in life is more public, more private, than a station is –
Sparing, perhaps, the fact of our own mortality.
I’ll rest awhile, with blanked face and my bag of little English litter,
And a nail where my heart was.
A sort of elegy for what was won, treasured, and lost.