Once I saw a city here, in this space.
Only square hatches in arrays, numbers with degrees, modifiers,
but a city was here, people were here.
In sweeps a draft and an eraser with razor edges,
embraced by plastic shrink-wrap. A cruel mother
with a steady hand, it scrubs every crevice clean,
leaving only soap scum and rubbery residual fragments,
palimpsests all, curled and fetal.
But the city was here.
Every cold blast whips bull-like across gouged concrete,
cancerous veins with boils, blisters and surgical scars.
All is desert,
grains of ice and sand pellets breaking skin,
corroding to rust, and there is no air.
Lines that intersect form maps and splinter,
like shavings from chop sticks. Street vents scream bile vapour,
hot breaths chilled on Cocytus from beneath a rigid blanket, swaddling dirt. Once
there was a city here,
now all disappeared by compartments,
nests made of fabrics and soundtracks.