The View From the Ambulance

is limited, by design.  Strapped securely
the dislocation, the shabby franchise-
ification of high street, signage blinking
by, the discomfort: this wasn’t here before
is dulled.  Everything looks old already,
except the crew, blue-lit by their screens

Last time, close to midnight, a decade almost gone,

I was thinking of my mother, as urine
from a woman in her eighties runnelled closer.
Her carer finished yawning, said: Missus,
I asked you if you needed to go before we left.
Nightgowned Europe meeting Africa,
the bump of continental drift.

All three lanes are worse now, as we off-road
on the flyover, gritted teeth, grimacing
past the tumorous growth of shopping centre.
I imagine that the phone-in’s about council tax
and potholes, but I don’t speak Punjabi,
and it’s Ramadan, so more than likely not.

I want to marvel at the weather, because the air,
the wind, is Ocean, and I almost have a memory

of what it was to swim.  The hairs along my arm
act like light is gravity, pulled towards the unseen
sun, I’m aching in my heliophilic skin.  And I wonder
how I can still smell the rain above the diesel,
and the smokers,

as the automatic doors close with a hiss.



R.G. Jodah, a cispontine citizen enjoying metropolitan anonymity, has recently appeared in London Grip, Three Drops from a Cauldron, PORT (Dunlin Press), Dawntreader.