Map of a City

As part of the MA Wild Writing Memory Maps module, Miranda Cichy wrote a sequence of poems on space, place and the meaning of home, centred around the areas of London she has lived in. The two poems below are the second and last in the sequence. Photo © Stephen Rutt.  

map of a city_photo 1

Bone

The city has gifted me a bone.
Stone-grey, scooped clean.
Severed and served
on a doormat, a bristle-brown plate.

The city sniffs at the warm.
It taps the air above my shoulders
where I am stooped, eyes to the bone.

Rabbit femur, perhaps. I don’t know bones.
As short or long as a wave goodbye,
a quick finger. I don’t know this city.

I throw the bone to the bushes.

Next night, on the doormat, the bone.
A Neanderthal tool, clue
from a wrathful god. Bone dry.
Bone stupid. White porcelain

of extraordinary strength.
The city is grinding me down
to sip gin from its china.

The bone’s hollows hold purples
of an early winter evening
and I am chilled to the bone.

I throw the bone to the bushes.

The city sleeps on the doormat,
a soft clenched fist
with a bone at its centre.
It is fox-small and eternal,

an orange ouroboros.
The door startles it.
The bone is fleshless, sucked fresh,

a meal well eaten.
Its arrow points outwards,
to the tail flick of dawn.


The Journey Out

On the journey out you can’t imagine
the coming back

it is dawn-break

the train urges itself on                     the grass rises like a submarine
crows whirl across wheat seas

the city stutters into silence

London is an ocean liner
seen through sunglasses from land

you’ll try

to trick yourself to knowing how you’ll feel
                                          on the coming back

but the sun is gold                 dust floats above the seats
                           your face is half-caught by the glass
printed with other people’s hands

and you won’t come back
                        the same
                                          maybe you’ll never come back

behind you the city
spacespacespacesssstips

over the horizon

you want to remember every shiver
of the journey out

but the hours sweep past tighter than trains
and the days flick out dark as tunnels

and the years              when you get there

disperse like pigeons
fluttering on spiked rafters

in the vast stations they make home

 
Miranda Cichy is an MA Wild Writing student at the University of Essex.  She has a BA in English Literature from the University of Cambridge (2006-2009), where she was awarded the Brewer Hall prize for a collection of poetry, and she came second in the Poetry Book Society’s 2015 National Student Poetry Competition. Miranda’s poetry has been published in The Salt Book of Younger Poets and her prose on Caught by the River. She tweets @mirazc

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