She took me by the arm. All the clocks had stopped.
I said ‘all the clocks have stopped here’. Listening
was the key in the steamy dusty square. Because no one
was listening but me. No one watching but me,
or those white thin bodies of trees, the thinnest trees,
like sticks in the ground, the skinniest trees I’d seen
in six weeks of travelling. At the fountain,
gentle upsurge, pattering, translucent on the stones,
I placed my hand under the flow for an instant,
to feel how cold it was, cold enough to burn,
already hurting. There was a loose wet stone,
and I bent to retrieve it. She said, ‘no you can’t have that’
and batted it from my grasp. Dear wet lonely stone.
Then I knew how far away I was and how I could never
get home. She dragged me to a solid white building –
a dozen faces like mine, hollowed out, excavations
with their little name tags and suitcases and their missing
of themselves. I didn’t want to go there but I went.
Cool immersion, then on the wall a giant railway clock,
stopped. I pushed through the mannequins
to a door with no lock and shoved it free to find fences
so tall even a deer couldn’t leap them and no one
was looking but me. No one was listening but me.