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  • Alan Ward


They’ll find our rail terminals and shopping centres,

call them cathedrals. They’ll map alleyways and motorway junctions,

calculate the proximity of cities to fresh water, and population ratios.

Take the temperature at fixed points and set times.

Our streets, empty as we’ll leave them, will chuckle with leaves.

Mayfair packets, balled-up burger bags and

office copy paper taken up on the wind through

frost-cracked windows will have turned to plant food in the gutter.

They’ll stoop through our doorways, count desks in tower blocks,

gravestones at sea in fields. Wonder on electric fans stock still

and tethered to the wall, and whether yapping dogs could have made

this all. Regard dolphins suspiciously.

Unmoving disco balls. Muted loudspeakers. Grey-faced estates

with chimneystack crowns and satellite dish ears. These will be mysteries.

Light bulbs – tool or ornament? Our statues, lacking noses and acid smooth,

might be anything. Monuments to gods we might have found.


This poem was first published in Magma magazine in February 2013.

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