As I walk away again you hide me in your democratic streets. No grid system here, all curves and alleys, places where the shadows land, and in those shadows I put down my bags and my umbrella, wet and fleshy from the rain. No one looks and I’m seduced again. But I wake to summer hard and bright, meaner than the winter — illuminating all the cracks and lighting barbecues that I won’t be at. I stay inside, I close the shutters tight and use the strategy he taught me, for boozers, gamblers, lovers – whole days without the thing that wreaks and breaks and pulls the buttons from your coat. Smashes all the mirrors and turns each planet retrograde. But still the prize, the application worked on night and day, the email written and re-written. The jackpot, the holiday, the wedding, butter for the burn. So many things are spoiled now, shirts and suits and men and magazines he’s been in. All of it must go, but somehow this city still belongs to me. Tonight at least the Strand is mine and so is Piccadilly.
Miranda Peake the poems