Such galvanising in those ceiling-hung cups —
decor to smooth over tough love struck between suspenders, mutilated beams,
scorched smears, the ends and offcuts of bakes,
barrels left out in the mud. How does the swerve feel now at the secret staircase’s upper reaches?
The lower are Thames: thick surfaces, chambers
more collection than room, more cutlass than scuttling, but no mere flash in a mirror’s fish pan.
In the middle of a disembodied wharf, history
is handcart driven, all the better for its bowels, previous sorrows and suspect tales.
Across the way, the ever-advertising dome,
that project/folly: land kneed perfectly in the ribsides to make folk live up
to nothing, from something. But in here
they rebreathe fire and stoke the kitchen’s capsized engine. Let it burn.
Nia Davies grew up in Sheffield and studied at the University of Sussex. She writes poetry and novels. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Wales, the Salt Book of Younger Poets and Birdbook 1 (from Sidekick books). Her pamphlet of poems Then Spree will be published by Salt in autumn 2012. She works for Literature Across Frontiers.