We have learned to wave distantly
through glowing windows    glimpsing
a well-placed bookcase or houseplant
imagining the corners of a room
their piled-up flotsam

we have learned not to ask
what happens at the watershed
we observe flows    swelling
dull chocolate-custard brown
we imagine crossing on dark boats

we have learned to still ourselves
appreciate meltwaters’ rush fear
birdsong its inaudible
depreciation    measure time
by clanging scaffolding

we have learned to watch buildings
dip their toes in autumn
calculate seepage into cellars
observe potholes yawn open overnight
mushrooms burst through tarmac

we have learned to amble
in repeating patterns    wear
constantly muddy shoes    and
as if they’d share our hopes
wave at dog walkers on distant banks




Julian Dobson lives in Sheffield. His poems have been published in journals including Magma and Under the Radar, and on a bus in Guernsey.