Let us go back then, along the footbridge from stranger,wider roads where the dented single-decker buses
sag with the weight of droopy passengers
breathe out a long sigh and move on. A street urchin washes
some indeterminate materials at the tube well
maybe they were once clothes, no-one can tell
what they are now, sudden onrushes
of winds? exhausts? makes them swell
out in grey and khaki. Messy romances
start and end by the wayside in sudden flashes.
Let us see if we can somehow recoverthe same tracks of miracles and mistakes
though a million feet have trampled them over –
the tea-beakers shattered into terracotta flakes
mixed in now with the muddy rainmade brooks
flowing fast and surreptitious in the nooks
of the kerb and the road. But retakes
are rare. All loving is messy if one looks
close enough, and associated heartaches
need not end though there are gaps and breaks.
The evening closes over the city and uslike the parted waters of the sea come together and close
after the gods have churned them for poisonous
swills and immortality elixirs. The wind blows
a streamer of scorched smells from the welding workshop
over our heads. We are compelled to stop
at all the places of our past waiting in rows
to be made over into the future. The stars drop
into their spaces overhead, a bus comes and goes
without us dangling from its bony elbows.
We’ve spent the first mists before darknessin walking fairgrounds beside the strangely wide road -
the grasses creep up, the clots of people get less
the odd jobber wraps up his mask and electrode
the lampposts switch their lights on in one sweep.
Come now my love, along the back lanes of grief
stories may get messy but must be given what is owed -
an ending, a disclosure, and an unshaken belief
that mistakes too are precious, equally hallowed;
that its gold may be thin but will not corrode.
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