March 27, 2017 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

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Jo-Ella Sarich



The Heart of Cities



It stuns me to think, looking at the Tower of London, that they once used to hang there like turkeys for various acts that were deemed treasonous. Present now only by my regard for them. Waterloo is just a mass of harried bodies, it seems, and a battle everyone has forgotten. Stencilled arrows in ancient skin direct them to subterranean shelter, but they press on overground. My father used to

say, of their history, that one more museum is much like another. Five countries in five weeks, and you start to feel that way. But we are just tourists in their day-to-day and you have to scratch

beneath the surface to observe that it’s a kindness that makes them avert their eyes on the tube. In Tokyo how they touch with bodies but not with eyes.

Wildflowers laugh at us from behind the stones; roses are garrulous in the pews of a roofless church. This morning they’ve yarn-bombed Trafalgar Square and it’s a light-fingered, comfortable kind of sabotage. Next they’ll strike

in Paris and macrame will wind its way up the Eiffel Tower in insidious technicolour and they’ll say they’re colluding. Citizens of the world tweet #Wearenotafraid.

And we know someone in each of them, it seems. We’ll haunt their quaint basement flats and marvel at how little distance has kept us apart. Talking about they way it was in finger-width cheap eateries and dialectics on Faust and disagreements over rent. And it’s like

how history is embalmed inside the baffles of those back alley studios and the rub of the 8-track, the tables where they came just to watch the pavements swell with lunchtime crowds as they wrote. Those are the ones who understood there was breath in the gleaming eye of each skyscraper and the smell of asphalt after rain, that there are lights across each city that can only be seen from looking

in a certain kind of way. Whoever’s on that bridge is just horse-drawn chance and circumstance. And you, my dear friends, it burns behind my eyes every time one of your little lights marks itself as Safe.











Jo-Ella Sarich

Jo-Ella Sarich lives in Petone, New Zealand beside the beautiful Wellington harbour. She has a husband and two small girls, and has recently started writing again in her spare time. One of her poems will be appearing in the Poetry New Zealand Yearbook.


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