i.m. Mick Imlah

There is a brief respite
while our lives are held suspended.
We’ll laugh when this is over,
wiser for this glimpse of the abyss.

For now, we go to work as usual,
a zigzag route through the estates,
our own private shortcut,
till they close the gates at night.

We leave behind the Florence, the Alhambra,
their dreams of domes in amber light.
The way home is due north,
King’s Cross by way of Scotland,

streets alive with her familiars:
the Angus house, the Flora, the Loch Lomond,
emblems of proud Caledonia
flaunting their two stars.

Argyle Walk, tarmac breaking into cobbles
shiny with night and rain,
a murky sodium glow, a kind of false dawn,
where we come to a halt.

‘They think I may have it’ you tell me,
London’s rivers rushing below our feet.