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‘A Survivor Strips Himself of Guilt’

Think of the trains running deep into the night, the windows a-jitter
in their narrow wooden frames; think of your breath sent spinning
into the small of my ear. Think of the steam paring loose from your bathwater
like bark planed away from the trunk of a tree. Think of the idleness of morning hours,
streetlights thrumming orange in the sky. Think of the panic of the final days, the half-packed
cars turning out into the lane. Think of it all and smile.

Think on the knotweed throttling the pylons, the carriages lingering at the feet
of new-formed hills. Think of concrete plains left spare, their solitary marks; that glove
with no partner, that boot without a sole. Think of the raided windows jagged
with lipfuls of glassy teeth, the shells of burnt-out vans turned turtle in the thoroughfares.
Think of the railway tracks governed by moss, the foxes rolling in the road-side dust.
Think of it all and smile.



Nick Garrard is a teacher and (very occasional) freelance journalist living in the least fashionable corner of East London.

“Though I’ve been writing prose for years, I’ve only come back to poetry relatively recently – it feels raw, liberating and not a little exposing.”

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Image credit: Giampaolo Macorig