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LIVERPOOL by Angela Cheveau

I am made of brick and bone
my spine, a row of terraced houses huddled
against the sharp slap of the North West wind,
my chest, the only green space left here,
is a park where children chase plastic bag balloons
across the shadows in their parent’s eyes
and my heart is a lonely swing creaking
in this empty, littered, playground
Liverpool burrows beneath my skin, my fingernails dirty with it
throat thick with it, tongue coated in it, lungs choked by it
and in each of my eyes a cathedral stands,
sorrowing these wounded pavements with tears of stained-glass light
ninety-six candles flicker softly in shadowed recesses
and somewhere, another mother weeps,
threading a rosary of grief through shaking fingers
as she tries to patch bullet holes with prayer,
through my veins, the murky Mersey winds
while across the tidal pool of my belly a ferry floats, docks at my hipbone,
in the cavern of my mouth four lads raise the roof
their shadows looming large across the city,
four boys who took a ticket to ride right out of here, first chance they got,
yet never forgot, where they came from,
and now, on the streets, lost boys on bikes blacken the sky,
like flakes of charcoal they whirl, hurling
matches onto the bonfire of this once proud city
and my teeth, are strings of brightly lit pubs
spewing staggering people out onto a cobbled tongue
I watch as they taxi down the dark roads of my throat
while at the back of my teeth lovers
in piss-soaked doorways unscrew the light from each others eyes
food banks bruising the streets where single mums beg
to feed open mouthed children
and in my shady alleyways, scuttles of rats gnaw the edge off
a slowly rotting moon
faded people float through the bars of my ribs, faces folded
like yesterdays yellowing news, papering
over cracks on the walls of their plasterboard hearts,
hanging empty hopes on the hook
of a crescent moon, watching stars seep
through the holes in their soles.