This landlocked city
spills into suburbs, lots choked with weeds,
fills what space it can take
like the man sitting beside me on the bus
who’s burst the banks of his bones to overflow –
we are too intimate in this folded space,
his breath timed to the beat of my heart.
I did not ask for his breath, his wet flesh,
his hands like slippery fish –
he must want to escape the swell
of his body, the contrived constraints of clothes.
And he will sense that I carry
the stagnant air of shuttered rooms, stalled lifts,
the slow creep of complacency. But still
it rises from tarmac to find us, clings
to our skin: that saline longing
for somewhere else.