In the dug out undercrofts
even the archaeologists
were ghosts, kneeling. We found
an edge to the light,
followed it around, knowing
features placed at random
(like modern selves, unspecified
inside specialisations)
within a slighted city wall
defined by contexts of
military expansion, commerce,
the digging of pits, offices,
retaliation, ' . . . a cinema
and retail complex, parking . . . '.
Southampton's held identity,
its fragile incorporation,
is a tiny spider holding
to a half invisible web
in a window only just
unearthed - as if it had
always been there, dormant,
buried in the ground.

We walked to where
the river ends. An
anchor of storm cloud
pulled lightning, hail, then rain
(a dreadnought citadel)
up the estuary
and we hid in the van
and talked about our fear
until the traffic stopped
and a darkness fell
and God strode through
Southampton's empty streets
shaking his coat free
of its silvery, shining, dew:
I saw the daylight returning
like something still afraid -
a whipped dog, insinuating -
keeping low, close to the ground:
I saw my home as light
coming back into my eyes
from a knowledge of my own
absences, non-entity.




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