After reading this outstanding article on Richard Thompson, I read the Brewer prompt, which was to pick a city and make it the title of the next poem. The first few cities I tried--Pittsburgh, Tampa--led me into a tone that seemed judgmental. Then I remembered one of many trips to London, in which I visited the Tate Modern. It seemed like some culmination of my London, which is--as are all places we visit--a place that, to some extent, I created for myself.
From the day I got my name I was destined
for you. Thirty-four years later,
jet-lagged, I sat in a park, watching leaves dance,
realizing how people came to believe
in fairies. Maybe enchantment came
because I looked for it. Maybe
blood speaks to blood.
The quirked mouth, the rising inflection,
the low droll drawl of you. Smiles
with mouths full of humble pie. Green swards
full of small white men with paddles.
Tunnels worn by centuries of pilgrim’s feet,
scratched metal boxes full of musty anoraks.
The satchels you carry.
The rooftop cats, chimneys, the curry houses,
the charity shops. Cakes with strange names:
Banbury, Banoffee. Baps. Baked beans
on tepid wheat toast. Pub windows
washed in whisky and water. The marriage
of disparate minds in the back of a cab.
On the bank by the art factory,
near the bridge disguised as rain,
the cool breath of the Thames
filled my lungs
and my immigrant heart.