Monday, October 16, 2006


Secrets scooped by the wind
in cobbled alleys,
flitted like bats,
caught the updraught
from coal-smoke chimneys,
then hid forever in the smog.

Anything could hide in the smog.
Bronchitis tried to hide
in my father’s chest,
but it whistled too loud
when he breathed.
We all knew where it was,
but no-one could get it out.
It wasn’t a secret.

But in the smog
men would try to hide it,
sitting on walls
secretly gasping behind masks.
Wheezing away their days
under sooty handkerchiefs,
lowered only to lob out
lungs’ lumps.

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