from Tales from the Bridge

by Mario Petrucci


Thames. Her intimate greys slicken
and still. She puts on her best black.
Drips necklaces of sodium pearls.
She still takes the long way round
her glacial Ex – the one who left her
another dagger between her ribs of bridges.
She wants him back – his ins and outs
of ice. How he breezed in with promises
of peat, clay. Delicious alluvium.
So she dreams heroic North who creaked
and moaned and made her give, grinding
out her juice. She longs for weight
and cold. The broad shoulders.
The ruthless belly, snow-heavy
and white as the moon.



How many times have I packed –
rolled up my streets like stockings
folded my tower-blocks flat as if
they were photos on the mantle?
But each time I do, he stirs –
darkens the grey hall of my estuary
and I offer my back, keep my
back to him, because I know
he’ll be stood there, suddenly old
in his clouded face, stooping as he
says – Give it another go, eh? For
Old Time’s sake? And so I unpack –
return each white square of the city
to its closet, slip back to the dark he
lies in, watching. Slow, so slow, I
unzip myself for him, bridge by bridge.