(to poet Geraldine Clarkson)

If you have to tweet photos of cow parsley,
please include the crushed beer cans.
On those verges embroidered with poppies,
don’t forget the fly-tipped mattress.
Show only streams strewn with Tesco trolleys
and valleys planted with wind crucifixes.
Depict the grey logistics depots along the M1.

Because now I live in a most desert-like state
where the sand has drawn a veil over the land.
A tubercular milk of concrete dust smothers us.
Before leaving for work, I stretch a damp cloth
over my mouth and nose, tie it with shoe laces
as the mini-market just sold out of face masks.
If the sun blinks open, you only see cataracts.

Here, your wheat pics sigh cornographically.
Your bosky grotto shots could get me deported.
Better if you find a cheap edition of John Clare,
press wildflowers between your favourite pages.
Let them suffocate beautifully and mail it to me
c/o The Empty Quarter, Rub’ al Khali, UAE.
I’ll see what I can do with the seeds.

Commended in the Waltham Forest Poets Competition 2019


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