MAN PRAYING, KING'S CROSS, 34° (Toby Martinez de las Rivas)
I will rise in this heat and rod myself south,
muscular forearms with their black guard hairs
shoving beneath the elbow-cuffs of my blue shirt
confidently, only cut by the brown leather band
of my watch ticking like a banked departure board.
People drain around me like the tide receding
around a sandbank, or like grains of sand dragged
very beautifully but helplessly into the offing:
a boy with chipped black fingernails and hair
swept from his eyes, smeared black Chloé eyeliner:
a pregnant woman like the Santissima Trinidad,
straining serenely windward, all her sails billowing.
In caelo, in caelo I see all these forms surrendering
themselves to my angel posture, clenched fingers
forming four perfect scarp-and-tarns, two thumbs,
the thumb-knuckles pressed up against my lips,
head bowed, knees on the floor of gum and muck
among throstling bodies going down into the floodlit
dark, soaring of fahrenheit, everything burning like
hellfire, beautiful. Bermondsey, Angel, Deptford.
I will rise in this oven's ferocity like bread, leaven.