Finnieston, December 3rd

It’s a gift, this evening: essay-free,

the cars passing silver, coruscatingly

ugly. I suck in the breath

of a stranger’s smoke, relish

the heady stench of chemicals.

The motorway is an overlap

of several confusions, and I stand

on the bridge above, weighing up

the distance between sky

and concrete.


These buildings of green and amber,

whole manner of lights

in windows, the signs glimmering

on the Clyde like the moon

on the sea and I’m still

out here, watching.


It’s so cold: the weird wind

and a Christmas tree in every window.

I think of the lines I wrote, all

4000 words incandescent and yet

it stings my cheeks as a memory:

the crisp vertigo of this bridge

and rumblings of traffic beneath

bringing me home, westwards

with the starry call of a drunkard.

[Maria Sledmere]

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