Une Ville Abandonée
A pedestal shorn of its statue, the sea’s encroachment,
eye socket windows, absentees. Wind, on the banlieue.
The reek of medieval atmosphere. Belfries, the unringing
of bells, the town square, the broken parapet, the tumbleweed
street. Here, all shadows in the sun, here the last man. Ask
where the people have gone; ask and the answers trail off
on the breeze. The sky lowers whiteness, a morgue sheet.
Cobblestones hold the clatter of clogs: stored recordings.
Doors, no doorknobs or latches. Shutters are shut blind
and all is static. This, my future ennui. A shrine, relics,
where the town’s your shroud, wraps itself round your
recluse heart, occult pulse, your spectral hood. Alone
on a bridge, you’re a beguine or anchorite, then Ophelia:
your face ashen, hair camouflaged, sprawling. I see myself
sketch your vignette, as gables double themselves over quays.
This grief has yet to happen: a lock of hair in my pocket,
the sea rising up the church spire. The sleep of poppies
drifts through me, with you in exile, a deposed queen.
Patrick Wright has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. His poems have been published in several magazines, most recently Agenda, Poetry London, Iota, and Brittle Star. He teaches Creative Writing at the Open University.
The Ekphrastic Review
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