London

For Sarah (happy birthday!)

I wonder if you are looking out your window tonight
At a skyline of unfamiliar silhouettes,
Buildings so tall even the stars can’t help but bend down and kiss them.
How utterly strange it is, for you to be so far away,
For us to breathe the same air, yet see different skies.
The constellations must have changed there-
I wonder if you can still see the Southern Cross.

This is the city we grew up with in movies and magazines,
Splattered across social media and travel ads,
Landmarks so iconic we knew them almost better than the ones at home.
The name tapping against the backs of our teeth,
As our tongues fumbled around an accent too-posh-
I wonder if you are used to it yet.

I imagine you walking Piccadilly at night, among flashing billboards
That never quite dazzle the same way at noon-
This is a kind of life that awakens only once the sun has fallen asleep.
These streets are so alive-
I wonder if you’ve seen them empty,
I wonder if you’ve heard them silent.
Two days it took for me to fall in love with this city,
I wonder if you are in love.

There is another terrorist attack on the other side of the world this morning
(Eight dead, another forty eight injured),
And mixed in with the sadness and sympathy
Is an unfamiliar sense of anxiety.
I am so not used to having to pray for someone
That I almost forget to ask if you’re ok.
I wonder if, during times like these,
You wish it didn’t take you at least two plane rides to come home.

Now you fall asleep the same time my alarm rings.
I must admit, it is kind of wonderful, this cycle,
The way one of us is always awake, as if we’re keeping watch-
Not afraid of losing sleep, but scared of missing out.
Still now, I wonder if you’ve settled in,
Because I hope you like it there.
I hope you have found a home there.

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18 thoughts on “London

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