Try to hold the city’s gaze, but blink. Breathe exhaust fumes, tarmac, unrequited kinship. Rehearse the words it wants to hear, its script a calligraphy of brick and mortar. Lines like roadworks, concrete birthing concrete, grit on the tongue. It listens, impatient, sighs streets unfurling. They will find your edges, pull them apart, close as the river, distant as the moon, and in that distance, stirring the air, sound on sleepless repeat: a circadian rhythm played on paving slabs and glass, never settling in the ear, but in the memory of home, your wayward yesterdays, a crack in the tiles.

Peter S Dorey