Those children, accidentally | given to fire | Flats burned out in Dusseldorf or Croydon | not places | a spellchecker knew | past the alley with communal bins or the pharmacy | the streets covered with firemen’s foam | and the blackened interiors | afloat on local websites | digitally | marooned | Each moment with its key ignition | By the plastic shower curtain | hanging a rippled Miffy | in a lilac slip you had raised your arm | to shave the hair under the pit | my face | in a cabinet mirror | for a moment a haunted voyeur | handsome but so useless, in the end | while a little way down the road | to mandolins, incense or choirs | people knelt to separate gods | and some prayed for fire

Immigrants | the lovers | mounting each other | looking for those moments of a good life | or striking flints to infuriate the heavens | wanting to belong | where no one, really, belongs | and sure enough | soon enough | we’re sent back | to a country that will just not | stop burning | Out of the side of your eye | a ladybird climbs fine white net | castaway | agent of this treacherous summer | with its shoals and shallows | its slumps and queues | of the unemployed | its dirty tangled wrack of drifted images | even the young cannot escape | already being ground down | to a particular style of angel | a rare | genus of devil | Softly, very softly | near the end of sound | I remember those tiny slivers of intimacy | that sometimes seem to make | the bulk of life | how the other paths | might bore, or might surprise | but the one I took | took us apart | as gently | as smoke floats | towards sleeping children’s eyes


from the series fleeting pixel (series of 1,000 poems, 2012–2016)

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