We lose each other everywhere:
the children in department stores
return as parents, fils et pere
collide by the revolving doors.

The pavements’ litter, burning flakes
of bonfires, tickets and franked stamps,
the fragile image drops and breaks,
the fugitive awakes, decamps.

The carriages uncouple, trucks
return unladen, suits appear
on vacant charitable racks,
the shelves of darkened stockrooms clear,

skin lifts and peels. A cake of soap.
The human lamps, the nails, the hair,
the scrapbooks’ chronicles of hope
that lose each other everywhere.

from The Budapest File (Bloodaxe, 2000), © George Szirtes 2000, used by permission of the author and Bloodaxe Books Ltd.

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