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A house alongside the road

has been gutted; a few remains

of the furnishings”wallpaper, toasters, beams”

peak out amid the empty wounds

where the building gave up its ghost

like an old man opening wide for one last breath”

only the fire here opened

every mouth, all over the body

a gash in the knee, a sick smile in the gut

a fantastic crying in the roof”

I knew this house”much of a muchness

with the others hutched along its stretch

of road I must have passed

its yellow teeth (pleasantly hid

behind blank window glass) like a smile on a bus

conductress’s usual route: then gone.

We do not know when things will come

to an end. The up escalator

stops abruptly”and the figures at the head

disappear from sight”like cigarette ash

tipped, without warning by the intook breath

lurch of a hand”nothing survives of us but roads

taken every day without the sight of love

and a few small effects gathered by the lovers we have calmed.