The Departed

The Departed

Those white-tipped marquees
which cap the new glass building

are women wedded in summer, veiled
like sun on long-ago sails

or the ghost-ships we watched that morning
sea and sky melded, dulled

to powder by mist on the still reach.
How we waited.

And I like to think of the river beyond
the wall, or the ghost-river

beneath us, how it carries the mountain
through the capital’s foundations.

So imagine these yellow cameras
hoist on frozen gantries above the cobbles

are only heads in a café after work:
uncertain, embarrassed,

not really looking;
and the cars lined up in metallic shades

are, after all, just waiting
as we did

while the shadowed mullions of the station
pray for the departed.

– (published in Orbis Winter 2008/9)

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