For Raphaela Linders

I spend days circling the rim of this city you never saw.
Ravenous. Watchful of living things. For instance,

men marching boom boom through the wide red streets.
Drums for bellies. Songs arranged like flowers

in their throats. Also, a girl drinking from a pond of dead
water. She dips, a toddler locked to her finger.

No doubt I’m getting fat. While you thinned & thinned,
I thickened. I made my jaw round with sugar & oil,

with soft white carbs. That’s another confession:
I think of food all the time. Except when I’m eating,

then I think of everywhere but here. At night,
I introduce myself to the dark. I say my name again

& again, as if it were a lover’s. Why? As a reminder
of what it feels like. As preparation for home.

Well, my belly is hard to get out of. This morning you sent
a voicenote & told me how weird it was travelling

from here to there. How cold compared to. How sterilised.
You said your rucksack stank out the whole house.

Afterwards, I stood a long time on the street watching
women twist raw wool into good clean lengths

of yarn. I was thinking maybe I’m tired. Maybe I’m a bit
alone. I was thinking what to eat next, & where.


Photograph by Raphaela Linders