Lydia Unsworth: Walk Around Town

fairy lights rock from the street lights
in a curled wind
we thought we’d see stars
but they’ve gone and done this
wrapped a rough blanket round our knees

we cried in the direction of the sea
the black on black water slap slap slap in my face
your presence like a hand on my hard heart
a push in the chest
the time limits
the tidal charts
we missed a trick, stopstart
never should have gone out so far

I am beyond love
a line of dots in the harbour
the escape was the trap
the trap was the mistake
knock the buildings down
let my memories reconfigure
it’s homelike, it’s home-shaped

my steps count themselves
I stop in the street
my suitcase is in everybody’s way
sorry, I say
the suitcase tips over
rolls the other way
I lift it like a child
come here, I say

I try to find a building that wasn’t here before
we don’t expect anything
except novelty always
or a soft voice that pauses after every clause
to say it isn’t my fault
the plane around my neck
hanging about in my dreams
delayed as my reactions
not even a sandwich
just a block of cheese
warm in the pocket

I can’t stop checking
if anyone anywhere
is thinking of me

this is not my pain

but something
more spectacular
to the planet

Lydia Unsworth

Lydia Unsworth’s latest collections are Some Murmur (Beir Bua Press) and Mortar (Osmosis). Her most recent pamphlets are Residue (above/ground press), cement, terraces (Red Ceilings), and YIELD (KFS). Work can be found in places like Adjacent Pineapple, Ambit, Banshee, Bath Magg, Blackbox Manifold, The Interpreter’s House, Oxford Poetry, Shearsman, SPAM, and Tentacular. Her forthcoming collection, Arthropod, will be published by Death of Workers in 2023.

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