Things happen. We’ve been promised
a meteor shower, though we can’t see
a single shooting star. A man bumps into
us on the Underground without apology.
The fly we fish from our wine glass is
a recovering alcoholic, can’t walk straight
but remembers how to fly. Peter remembers
how to fold his napkin, pour salt and pepper
on his food. We feel him feeling this world’s
a fearful place. It happened when the hostel
was sold, backpackers littered the square,
talking loudly in foreign tongues, the police ran
complaints by the new night manager. Now
Peter stares at the tourists flooding the cathedral
and when we turn for a moment, he has fled.
And now a hand restrains him. What is it called,
salt shaker, person, weather? Why does hair
grow from his ears, why aren’t his trousers clean?
Exactly. A world where beauty no longer counts.
Annette Barnes’ second book, Seeing Through Self-Deception , was published by Cambridge University Press.