From my room I retrace the intricate lace of maps,
trails of saffron and blue. I begin my story
anywhere, pull a thread of burnt sienna
to the Elephant and Castle,
or travel a Circle to the Barbican.
The world submerged makes sense to me —
the scent of a man’s Cadbury, the sound
of a voice asking please do not leave…
I savor the place names of stations I have dreamed.
It’s what isn’t here that interests me.
How this trinket tray adores deception —
provides a legend to the Angel,
a lover for the Piccadilly train.
How this late 20th century souvenir
keeper of beach glass, tea bag, one tiny bell
creates more than any cartographer would tell.
I lean toward a stranger, grey eyes reading
mine before the doors next open, slightly
close, before we rise and go —
past a young girl offering Puccini
by the escalator’s puddled edge —
past travelers, erotic and unknown.
How we must forgive a map its half-truths,
its absent streaks of grief,
and arrive in a back-lit glance
to where time for one moment rinses clean.