The unsheltered places

The unsheltered in their places might remark
if asked, that a pavement
at close quarters

is like the surface of the moon
just before the sun disturbs itself
to snuff out, one by one

each florescent streetlight’s fizz
that crowds out deeper
stellar harmonies.

And paving slabs, when seen up close
are crusted in a skin-deep film of ash
and shallow breaths that blur

the craters worn by sleeping
bags, which only the dislodged perceive
as they move between

their havens footprints captured
in the lunar soil of crumpled blankets seared
by solar winds that rise

from a blazing paper cup of tea
steam whirling like the telescope
that sends the stars’ song home.



Katherine Collins is a poet from Bristol. Her writing has appeared, or will appear, in The Rialto, Shearsman, Finished Creatures, Ink Sweat & Tears, and Anthropocene Poetry. Her debut pamphlet, For the Apocalypse Team, was shortlisted in the 2020 Rialto competition.