ice begins to grip our hearts.
Ash from a long smoke, the city lies.
Ghostly images of our fathers rise,
drift in the blood-thick smog.
The traffic snarls,
dead bodies rot and clot in our veins,
dust blown into cul-de-sacs.
8.45, a Thursday night,
a senile couple stagger in from the mist.
They order half pints,
the old man sniffs,
his eyes the faint grey of a wintry sky.
The old woman’s face is ruddy, bloody,
creased like the neck of a tortoise.
She mumbles to him
and he mumbles back.
‘Liar!’ she shouts.
‘Quiet!’ he says and raises a hand in warning.
but louder she cries.
‘Sharrup you old bag!’
‘Liar!’ she cries,
‘I gave you a pound!’
‘No!’ he replies.
‘Liar, you liar!’
‘Quiet you bag!’
They sip their half pints and rise.
He steps outside.
We hear his stick tap.
She shuffles, bow legged, to the door.
A pool of urine gathers round her feet,
she trails it out into the street.
They are lost in a whirl,
I see their desperate hands grope in the night,
flail against the glass outside.
Blood spatters windows,
runs to the earth,
seeps and nourishes birth;
birth of new dreams,
a new sense of fear is born.