Birmingham City Council


In a landlocked city with a spit of saliva for a river, a man
libates the steps with water in a plastic bottle taken from
the fountain penned by words about an empty pool. Streams divert
to where the tree will be and wooden cabins with tarpaulin roofs.

This close to Halloween, the sun falls low;
you flick it away from your eyes like a fly and glimpse
the potential vortex of the merry-go-round. Supporting herself
by the sphinx, a woman talks to someone somewhere else,

she said she never shed a tear for seven years,
she says; she said she’s cried for three whole days. Bloated
poppies overhang the council house. Christmas wanders into
autumn windows, leaves stay yellow where the air hangs

still between Diwali and the fireworks, waiting for the lights.
Outside the square, below the green man frieze, girls
are twirling for Eid ul Fitr in crimson bridesmaids’ dresses.
You remember, and send mubarak to someone somewhere else.