Lagos The more exists of things, importance seems diminished. So, when you disappear into that vastness from whence you came it will be hard to contemplate your lack of value there. Numerous as forest leaves, the city heaving with a mass of uncharted souls, now you, a leaf on the forest floor; an ear of wheat in a field but in my tiny scrap of universe always and forever a jewel.
Gascony Faceless dots on maps upon closer inspection reveal bridges, houses, churches. Road signs suggest other places but it’s high summer and the crop needs a hand. Midnight café, cicada chorus unexpected friendships, a one-armed war veteran pedalling old lanes at dawn, the chance discovery: fresh bread and chocolate as elements to combine and how random dots on maps, at first of no significance, create allegiances over time, compel a life off course until one day the paths unchosen might return as speculation.
The dove looks alarmed as its mate goes flying off the sideboard’s edge when you fling a door. Forty years, same place, you used to tell me how instalments ensured the pair were yours. Now you sit in this pool of senseless oblivion and don’t even shed a tear as I brush up fragments, dream miraculous repairs like those lost vases jigsaw-pieced to live again impossibly from earth.
John Short lives in Liverpool again after a previous life in southern Europe and has had poems in magazines like Pennine Platform, Poetry Salzburg Review, London Grip and The High Window. His second collection Those Ghosts (Beaten Track) was published in 2021 and his third, In Search of a Subject (Cerasus Poetry) will appear in early 2023. He blogs sporadically at Tsarkoverse