It was necessary to move, and at this exit
the beggar, cross-legged at the fork of the tunnel,
calls out Love! A welcome, of sorts.
The night light fucks the suburb
into nightmare familiarity —
not like a shrammed nerd touting
guided walks and histories that contract
imagination for demolition work,
leveling today’s housing,
restoring common greens,
lingering at sites orphaned of their fever
hospitals — by no means that hyperliterate,
poor entrepreneur —
It is the view, the barbed wire roaring into view
round and round the playground walltop.
It is the warehouse, warehouse windows blank of occupation.
It is lives, lives supplied in great number,
fulfillment of numbers.
It is the sense of something shared —
the tailor scissors razoring open
fishmouth stitches, the sewn-up pocket
of the new suit,
and finding something —
But it is new, all new,
even the gangs who graffiti chimneys
scrubbed and lovely, deleted
like the railways delete
the head, the occasionally payrolled head,
of the quartered commuters, of the vertebral week.
Vahni Capildeo (Scotland, 1973 -)
Source: Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet Press, Ltd., 2016) from Poetry Foundation