Paris, seen from MontmartreJoshua Veitch-Michael
Zinc and slate against my thighs,
a metal sky above me, low,
forbidden, lurking,
if I stretch my ungloved hands,
I reckon I could harvest
all the citrine gems, the golden beryls,
fire opals, amber stones
concealed behind these autumn clouds

The red brick chimney in my back
discharges central heating fumes,
and it feels almost friendly,
like a lukewarm handshake
from a perfect stranger

While I close my eyes, the world
keeps spinning round and round,
vague smells of car exhaust,
domestic fuel, spicy dishes drift up
from the busy avenue nearby
where cars are honking, children lauging,
stories lived

The mizzle wafting in the air
feels like so many tiny tears
but it’s just water falling down

Perhaps, when I get back to life,
today, tomorrow, sometime soon,
there will be snow, a blanket, white
and spotless, cloaking all the dreary details
of the city

But right now, I do not move,
a static gable rider high above
the vales of Paris, quite content
that all I have is bricks,
and zinc, and slate, and murky skies…